Jan. 16 Flashback: Wankers

Jan. 16 Flashback: Wankers January 16, 2022

A lot of things have gotten worse since 2002. This blog is probably one of them.

This is from January 16, 2019, “Wankers“:

The sheer volume and size of this series is also disturbingly disproportionate. Consider what it means to commit to twelve weeks of Sunday school or small-group Bible study on this subject. It’s the same stunted, adolescent concept of “discipleship” that keeps evangelical youth-group culture perpetually motionless — the idea that God’s Plan for Your Life involves, above all else, threescore and ten years of Not Masturbating. It’s as though evangelicalism had decided to translate Micah 6:8 as “What does the Lord require of you? To never masturbate; to never masturbate; and to walk humbly with thy God never masturbating.”

Is this the “fasting” that God chooses? To bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes and saltpeter?

As an answer to the beloved evangelical question “WWJD?” the response “Not masturbate” isn’t quite wrong, but it sure as heck isn’t right either. Jesus had something to say about the “weightier matters” and this ain’t one of them.

If there’s any kind of addictive behavior on display here, it’s that of a church that’s so addicted to obsessing over masturbation that it ignores the world beyond its own crotch. Ignoring a world of injustice and suffering in order to pursue your Higher Calling of not jerking off is bound to turn you into, well, a bunch of jerk-offs.

Taking masturbation, of all things, and elevating it to 12-DVD-box-set status as the be-all and end-all of discipleship is also doomed to fail. It would be dismal enough if this produced a church of self-absorbed “pure”-minded abstainers who did nothing else, but it won’t even do that because people so focused on their own crotches and “purity” won’t succeed in their pursuit of total abstinence — they’ll just become self-absorbed and guilt-ridden over the fact that they’re still doing that thing that almost all of us humans do more or less just as much as everybody else.

These folks won’t be able to masturbate any less unless they find something better to occupy their time and something better to think of as their higher calling. And the usual list of also-ran activities the purity-culture Never Masturbate model of discipleship supplies — prayer! Bible study! evangelism! — won’t cut it because all of those worthy things get reshaped in service of the misplaced priority of Never Masturbate. Prayer becomes prayer about never masturbating. Bible study becomes searching the scriptures for guidance on never masturbating. Evangelism becomes the process of recruiting others to join us in trying-and-failing to never masturbate.

I struggling to express how deeply, deeply weird it is to emphasize something so venial. It’s almost always, at worst, a matter of akrasia — not of malice or cruelty or evil or injustice. The “sin” we’re talking about here is barely ever a sin at all. Yes, “lust” is a big deal — one of the Seven Deadlies. But the sin here, when there is any, usually involves selfishness and sloth as much as or more than lust.

Sloth, mind you, is also one of the Deadly Sins, because there’s so much that desperately needs to be done that sitting around not doing anything is just wrong. Even if that sitting around not doing anything includes bowing down the head like a bulrush, lying in sackcloth, etc., and fervently not masturbating.

Read the whole thing here. There’s video.

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