I’ve been reading the book Sex God by Rob Bell, thus the title. I’ve no idea what else you were thinking. It is one of the only books I have read recently that has made me think. In fact it has made me think very deeply indeed.
One of the themes in the first chapter is about de-humanising people. Evil always de-humanises us. Seeing others as less than human not only affects them, it also affects us. I’ve noticed many times in my dealings with darkness, whether in helping others, or my own mistakes, that evil is very concerned with taking away our humanity, our personality, in fact everything that God gave us to enjoy. The examples Rob Bell uses are about lust, and in particular seeing some person as a ‘that’ not a he or she. It was that thought that challenged me. Let me tell you why.
I think the central core of what I am trying to do in Africa is to treat people as God intended them to be treated. That for me, means treating them as human beings, not as commodities to be traded or even worked with. In the world of charities I do believe that a lot of heart motivation is wrong. People talk about it as the 3rd sector, that’s because it is big. Lots of money and people revolve around the sector. Money and trade normally spell problems for humanity.
My last thoughtful post was railing against the money ideas that can creep in to the Church. Here I want to think about people becoming ‘that’, in the eyes of charity and even evangelistic organisations rather than human beings.
When we think of people who are in desperate situations, there is a sense in which we all feel deeply guilty about our own lives. Guilty about the relative ease we can go about them. Guilty about pictures we see of everyday life that involves more than a fair share of suffering (if there is such a thing as a fair share). Guilt, guilt, guilt.
You hear it all the time. I went to such and such a place, I saw such and such a thing and now I want to give some money….. why? To appease the guilt? To feel like we are making a difference. You see, in that there is no connection. There is no humanity. Where is the heart?
I felt challenged myself. Why do I involve myself? Is it wanting to look good? is it wanting to appease guilt? is it to find purpose? You see, in all of these things, it makes me less likely to find my own humanity, as I am in fact using the situation of others, abusing their position to bolster myself.
You see this in some evangelistic organisations. You see the desire to head hunt. “We told 4, 000, 000 people about Jesus last year”. Let me post the question. Do we do this to make ourselves look good or because we really love?
The heart is all important in this equation. Giving money is not wrong. Giving Time is not wrong. Giving of yourself is not wrong. Gaining pleasure out of giving yourself is not wrong. To do that with the aim of bolstering our own life, without a real cost to us is. It is ultimately selfish and self centred. An appropriate response always costs. Something done out of selfish motives cannot ultimately cost ourselves, the two aims are mutually exclusive.
The only way to ensure that we see people and boost their humanity, not abuse it is to give of our own humanity, our own personhood. Give until it costs us. Give as Jesus did, giving his life. The Bible said that he looked out upon Jerusalem and saw that they were like sheep without a shepherd. He then had compassion upon them. Ultimately Jesus gave his life for them and for the whole of humanity. Love, Connection, Giving of yourself, that is what it is all about.
I fear that the growth of the charity sector is ultimately based upon our own selfishness. Now is it right to exploit that for the food and good of others? A hard call. To be consistent though, it can’t be, we want to help our own people find their own humanity too.
I want to be a sex god. Someone who connects with people, someone who connects with God. Why? Love and because I, ultimately do not matter in this equation.
So who’s for it: Jon – Sex God – maybe you could be a sex god too?