Well, I was worried that 2020 was going to be kind of a bust. There’s a lot to be stressed about–the world going on fire, all the dirt in my own house, the internet, the upcoming elections, Grammarly including a little emoji to let me know how they feel about my “tone” as I’m literally typing…like before I even manage to complete the sentence–but freak out no longer! A great gift has been given, almost as brilliant and sparkly as the Son of God being revealed even unto the Gentiles (that’s just a little reference to Epiphany, the Feast of which was yesterday, the Season of which we are now in until Lent, in case you are like Francis Chan and are just learning about churchy things for the first time). What is that gift, you ask? I will hold you in suspense no longer.
Netflix announced that the six-episode series on Gwyneth Paltrow’s luxury lifestyle brand Goop will be released this month. The announcement came with what some are calling a “terrifying” first trailer and poster. “What we try to do at Goop is explore ideas that may seem out-there, or too scary,” Elise Loehnen, chief content officer of Goop, said in the trailer for “the goop lab,” and based on the minute-long promo, the show will be in alignment with that mission. The trailer teased exorcisms, psychedelics, psychic mediums and energy healing, with one woman claiming that she was able to complete years of therapy “in about five hours.” The show also promises to focus on sexual health, as suggested by its promotional poster which shows Paltrow standing in the middle of what appears to be a vagina.
I know this is supposed to be a family blog, and I don’t like to bring up these kinds of intimate matters, and so honestly, I wish that Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn’t either. The poster advertising the series is pretty amazing–as in, terrifying and awful. What am I to do if I set out to comment on the news, and the news is all about sex? Never let my children read this blog, I guess.
On a more serious note, I find it sort of boring and discouraging that there even is a “wellness” industry, in the first place. In the second place I find it even more boring that after all, no matter what anyone says, everything eventually does have to be about sex.
The Episcopal church used to accuse conservatives of being sex-obsessed. It doesn’t matter what private people do in their bedrooms, they would cry. Which can feel like a bit of a fair criticism. It is upsetting that God, of all people, would care so much about what you do with your body, wherever you are, and would particularly care about who you are having sex with. God is love, and sex is love, therefore God loves you to have sex. Stop judging me, Episcopal professors and clergy would say, I don’t care what you do in your bedroom. You’re confusing me with God, I would whisper to myself.
Strangely enough, though, it is not conservatives who are sex-obsessed, at least not as a cultural monolith. It is the people who have already decided they can do whatever they want with their bodies and to hell with anyone like God who might disagree with them. It is these ones who have to bring it up in every situation, every awards ceremony, and now every Netflix show. Wellness itself promises to be about smoothies and good vibes and then ends up being only about sex–and crystals…but mostly sex. And yet I’m the narrow-minded one.
That’s how idolatry works though. It devours everything around it. Whatever you worship is going to demand all your attention and all your love. You end up beclowning yourself without knowing it. You end up with a narrow, foolish, boring life. Whereas if you worship God, and try to do what he says, even about sex, you end up with an astonishing vista of beauty, of glory, with a rich array of friends, of different kinds of love, with a deep interior peace that surpasses all the kinds of wellnesses the world has to offer.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go double-check all my parental protections on Netflix and also start round two of the argument of when we’re going to chuck the whole thing. We have books to read, all of which are more interesting than the narrow-minded, greedy sex-god of today.