Tuesday, April 03, 2007


My parents have some chickens. Four chickens to be exact. Three females and one male. Three hens and one rooster. That rooster has sex with those hens all the time. Those chickens are, at this time of year, feathery balls of coitus.

My brother and I were filled with beers the other night, sitting in plastic lawn chairs in my parents' yard in Florida, so we were talking of course about sex and growing up Southern Baptist and the extra special relation between the two. I spent a not small chunk of my youth at church services and bible studies and sunday school classes and youth group get-togethers and the like.

There are those who claim that talk of sex and bodies is repressed in the evangelical churches. Nope. That's really wrong. If anyone likes to talk about sex it is the eeeeevanjellikuhls. Looking back over all that time spent in church it seems that sex was talked about more than anything else, especially with us youngsters in the youth group. We loved to discuss all the naughty potential inherent in our young horny bodies. We had a grand time watching videos and slideshows presenting us fourteen-year-olds with images of big hairy penises with oozing pustules from STDs so that we might feel good about our own clean, pustule-free penises, and feel genuine pity for those who were not so blessed as us. We expressed some nice deep bits of sorrow for those young ladies outside the walls who got themselves a swollen belly. We discussed tactics for dealing with pesky sexual thoughts. We shared with each other that if you ever find yourself with a penis that is becoming erect, just think about polar bears with polka dots or Jesus dying on Calvary or some other arousal-defeating consideration. We stood up before our group of youth and let ourselves know, made it crystal clear, that the guilt we're all feeling is a real good thing. Real good now.

I once took a peek at the realization that I never felt much like masturbating until we started talking about it at youth group guilt-soaked training time. I mean, I would masturbate every now and then, nothing of an obsessive nature. But once I learned the truth of the matter, that this was an entirely shameful affair, and that I had heaped piles of guilt upon my head (and my future offspring naturellement!). I was guilty and ashamed. That's on the reals.

After that you can bet your droopy ass that I couldn't be stopped. I was pleasuring myself every chance I got. Orgasms are much more interesting when you know that there's a world of sinful meaning behind them. I rubbed myself raw. And when I was kept awake by the pain of the battle wounds on my penis, I would cry and whisper to the good Lord above through heaving sobs that I was so sorry and that would He please forgive me just one more time.

My aching bits and pieces became a lovely symbol for everything that I was taught to hate about myself and a sign pointing to the heavenly after world where I'd be free from the devilish urge to bring myself to climax. I'd often dream of cutting off my penis so as to be through with the whole ordeal. Honest. Fourteen years old.

When I met some girls from church who would get me off themselves and would even let me bring them to orgasm, I was to say the least very interested. And very very guilty, as I was often reminded. I'd go to sunday school, all is well. After sunday school I'd sneak off with a girl into the bushes or somewhere and we'd fool around until it was time for church service. We'd go to church service and halfway through I'd stop holding my girl's hand because I felt God's laser beam eyes peering into my dirty soul. I'd go home, lay in bed and want to kill myself. The next week I'd go back I'd go back and do the same thing all over again. This went on for a while, eventually moving into the forbidden land of sex.

As you may well imagine, this begins to take its toll on a person after a while. My hatred for myself was real damn passionate. This isn't such a nice way to be, especially for a sixteen year old kid who is just trying his best to be a good Christian and yet failing endlessly.

At this point I had had entirely enough. I didn't want to feel guilty anymore. I was going to end up killing myself. I just wanted to be a kid and have fun.

With our bellies full of beers, my brother told me a story similar to the one above. Except his story involved both sexy things and music things. If you have ever met my brother you'd know that he loves music. He always has. Nothing makes him joyous like a good tune in the air. Growing up as a youth in the church he was always told to stay away from the evil music. This he found very difficult to do because for some reason all of the music that is worth a damn falls under the evil music heading.

This one time he accidentally left a couple of his cds, evil ones, at the church and they were brought to the attention of our youth pastor, Mr. David Head, who came to our church in Florida from Alabama and moved back there not long after. My brother's name was connected to the evil cds and he was called into a private meeting with the saintly Mr. David Head, where he proceeded to scold my brother for his sinful ways. This had a profound effect on him and he later found himself shut in his closet with a hammer, weeping and smashing his cds.

My big brother also engaged in sexual activities as a church-going youth and learned to be real guilty and filthy and hateful toward himself just like me.

The thing that I find really interesting about all of this is this. When we had both reached our limit, when we had had enough of the guilt, shame and hate (which we never would have experienced without its being drilled into us from the age of five) we both did the exact same thing. We both acted in the same way. We both fucked a girl on the front steps of a church, as a way to say our fuck you's to the church and to their God. I did this when I was sixteen years old.

At the age of sixteen I said to my body that it is alright. My body is al-motherfucking-right.

That is why I brought up the chickens. They made me so happy to see them screwing in the yard without thoughts of killing themselves. In the spring the whole world comes alive to do not much more than screw. The animals are have sex. The plants are having sex. Sex everywhere and all the time! How awesome is that? Enjoy your spring! Enjoy your body! Enjoy your sex!


Nate Wildermuth said...

very interesting post, and I enjoyed the honesty.

There is, of course, another route that you and your brother did not take - which was not giving into the lust. And the only way to do that is to develop a relationship with God that goes beyond what passes for faith in America.

But you and your brother were put into an impossible situation, and the results aren't surprising. Yet at some point, like today, you have to go beyond the poisoned faith that was handed on to you - a faith that gave guilt but not grace.

Having guilt isn't a sign that you were taught wrongly. Guilt is a natural consequence of having done something wrong and having recognized that you've done something wrong. Even Judas felt guilty. But what do you do with that guilt?

The only real solution to guilt is grace. For Catholics, that means the sacraments - especially the sacrament of reconciliation, which not only grants forgiveness, but gives us the grace to overcome our sins.

As they say, a saint is simply a sinner who does not give up, and no one becomes a saint overnight. Our spiritual progress is measured in decades rather than months.

But who knows. The way you are willing to tell the truth - to yourself - maybe you're on the fast track. Good luck and God bless!

Matthew said...

I agree that there is nothing wrong with guilt, and that it is a good thing. But we were being taught to feel nothing but guilt about things that we had no experience of. It reminds me of Kafka's The Trial. He's in the middle of an endless trial without ever being told what crime he is guilty of. Endless guilt with no crime.

My brother and I had done no wrong, so why were we being made to feel guilty? We were manipulated, not guilty. I could have just been trying to hide the occasional erection when I was 16... It may sound odd, but I truly feel that what I did at the church was the first time I had ever experienced true lust. Before that I wasn't lusting, I was just unconsciously doing what I had been taught to do at church. Southern Baptists taught me to sin, whether I wanted to or not (I did not). I wanted to sin of my own will and feel true guilt and true grace. And I have. I have a much healthier relationship with my body (or rather I've realized that a mind/body dualism is doomed to failure) and as a result I'm able to have a much healthier relationship with my wife and her body (as well as a healthier relationship with God). I wanted to sin openly in God's presence (at a church) instead of cowering in my bedroom all the time. I do not regret my action.

Most people would have left the church and cursed God and left it at that for the rest of their lives. Try as I have, I can't do that. For better or for worse, I have remained loyal to the church, I love my God and never plan on giving up.

Rachel said...

Hey DP/DL and Matt!

I was "snooping" around on your other posts besides the one about DP's new haircut and found this one (in return, you can "snoop" on my rambelings... I think I linked it. If not let me know and I'll give ya it via email). I guess I relate and think about this topic a bit. I fully understand when you say,"as a result I'm able to have a much healthier relationship with my wife and her body (as well as a healthier relationship with God)," and I found it to be weird and odd now that I'm married that sex is no longer supposed to be "dirty" and "shameful" ... so aparently there is a switch that's supposed to turn on to think it is "beautiful," but when you are taught to suppress your sexual emotions forever by putting up walls... how are you supposed to knock them all down when you don't even remember how to get over those walls anymore or even remember what walls were put up years and years ago in the first place. I don't know if that run-on made any sense, but it makes me sad thinking about how the church teaches us that sex is such a bad thing out of marriage, but never dwells on the fact that God created it to be such a beautiful thing in the first place.

Anyway, if you enjoy watching chickens doing "it," I think you would enjoy the book "Prodigal Summer: A Novel" by Barbara Kingsolver. It's packed full of talk about nature's sex through following the thoughts of 3 main fictitious characters as they go about their days in a small little town in a valley. My sister-in-law, a Biology genius, gave it to me for Christmas cause it's one of her top reads, and I give it mad-props as well.

Also, I miss you guys! DP, after talking to you on the phone that one time and getting the phone bill (ouch, but I survived), I realized that you really aren't in the U.S. anymore! :( Let me know if you are ever back in KC (or something live that)... and maybe someday I'll graduate, get a job, and have some extra $$ to do all the traveling that's on my growing list... which includes comming to visit you :) Well, I hope you both are well and happy! Besides work/reasearch, I'm happy ;)

Love ya both!