I’m reading a book for my History and Systems of Psychology class, called “Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance,” by Terry D. Cooper. I’m presenting on the sections of sensuality and feminist views.
I’m genuinely pissed off. What I have the most problem with is the fact that this author uses historical theology, philosophy, and psychology insights to support his conservative argument for pride. His argument, in my opinion, is a commonly-held misunderstanding of humanity. Instead of observing the intricate beauty of humanity, which God has made in His Image and acknowledging humankind’s capacity to be good, accountable, forgiving, loving, and communal people, the author harps on a negative, self-centered, prideful, and essentially sinful view of humanity. With this, he basically rejects any sort of goodness involved in the aspects of sensuality and relations with others by saying that much of our pride issues come from a distrust in God, and an addiction to a false idolatrous relationship with another.
In my opinion, sin should be looked at in terms of its implications for maintaining and building community. We need to redefine what it means to sin, who we are as people, and how we affect one another based on our actions, beliefs, and cognitions.
I agree that an unhealthy sensuality is essentially bad. However, instead of narrow-mindedly calling sensuality a selfish, disordered, sinful, and gluttonous pursuit of passion disoriented in our distress in failing to trust God, Cooper could have at least offered a slightly positive and/or a multidimensional view on sensuality.
Sensuality cannot be defined merely as a retreat from the self, an avoidance of the self, nor can it be a self-indulgent, self-avoidant, manipulative act based on our failure to distrust God. Sensuality cannot be defined as an addiction to fulfilling our wholeness. It kills me to think that people are identifying with and reading about this “pathological,” and addictive, experience that can never be healthily and positively experienced, because humanity is essentially trapped in an inescapable dynamic of sinfulness. No. This is NOT true!
I kind of felt as though Cooper tailored Gerald May’s thoughts on how humans are made to love, to be loved, to give ourselves to others in a way that supported his notion of innate human sinfulness by saying that humans take it to its limit and only navigate toward unhealthy ways of loving. I think this was the point in which I had to put the book down and think to myself, wow, what great support for my positive sexuality argument. We are loving humans who want to love and be loved, and to express that healthily, is by no stretch, a crime. The fact that humans want to love others is a reflection of God’s love, a beautiful mirage of our capacity to be good. If we constantly talk about the worst possible scenerio, and neglect to look at the best possible scenerio, we become burdened with a feeling of failure, and inability to rise up from our “failure”, which in turn, fails to facilitate action toward our growth. In other words, if we harp on the fact that we’re essentially evil, sinful, and bad people, there will be no room left for us to be good people.
A loving, healthy, consented sensuality is not to be discouraged. A continuous interaction between both partners consisting of honest communication and rational expectations where boundaries are established and sexuality is talked about is key. Dialogue can prevent an idolatrous, possessive, and self-indulgent sexuality because a relational aspect is involved. Sensuality is not always bad, nor is it always good. However, under the right circumstances of equality and communication, sensuality is not a bad thing, nor something to feel guilty about.
As humans, we are meant to love, express, care, and take part in relations with others. Of course, we will sin along the way, but most of all, we are capable of making things right, of taking part in healthy, positive expression, which, contrary to Coopers belief, does not involve pride. We can feel sensuous, and still love God! Nothing can separate us from His love. We love each other like God loves us; the beautiful imitation of our Creator is not a disordered one, like Cooper says. But rather, I would argue that the suppression of love, the withdrawl from wanting to be good people could be the symptomology that the disorder of incessant pessimism brings to the table. We can trust God, fully, in all that we do. We can trust God alongside others, in a congregation, in a marriage, in a relationship, in a friendship, in a community. We can do all of this while expressing ourselves healthy, in a positive, thoughtful, and hope-filled way. God’s humanity is a holistic, diverse, and unique creation.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. — helen keller.
this is my wonderful, wonderful dog.
today we watched the dog show together, and he howled at the other bischon.
him and dougie are slowly becoming friends.
carly is getting her power woman on, and playing some wii olympics, her and her guns. we just got done watching rapunzel [twisted] and my sisters and i laughed our butts off. way to go, disney. my mom is listening to meatloaf, and i can tell mooshoe wants to get out of here.
this break has been wondrrously awesome for my soul. even when my family is driving me bonkers, i still very much love the times that we share.