Reader Oscar wrote:
I finally got around to watching the History Channel’s “Knightfall” fictional series about the final days of the Knights Templar, and imagine my surprise when one of the central plot points is that the Paris Temple Master has an affair with the Queen of France, and gets her pregnant.
Their justification for their illicit (on multiple levels) affair? “We’re in love!” What else could it be?
The “best” part? At one point, the knight is kneeling before the altar, asking God for guidance, when he has a vision in which the Queen is standing in front of him (where the altar was), and he’s kneeling before her with his forehead on her belly. I’ve never seen a more literal depiction of a man worshiping a vagina.
This stuff really is striking, and once you know how to spot it, it is everywhere.
In fact, the very reason we don’t tend to spot this is it really is everywhere. It is commonplace, and more importantly it is what we fundamentally believe. It is fairly easy to spot when it takes on the Old Testament form of idol worship, as was recently reported on by the Christian Post: Liberal Lutheran pastor to melt purity rings into vagina sculpture to ‘take down’ church teachings about sex
“Beginning November 12th, until December 17th, you’ll have the opportunity to send in your purity rings to be melted down and recast into a golden vagina,”
…those who send in their rings will then receive a “certificate of Impurity as well as a SHAMELESS, impurity ring.”
“This thing about women that the church has tried to hide and control and that is a canvas on which other people can write their own righteousness ― it’s actually ours,” Bolz-Weber told HuffPost. “This part of me is mine and I get to determine what is good for it and if it’s beautiful and how I use it in the world.”
We can easily spot the problem in the case of creating a golden vagina idol because this departs from the narrative we are so comfortable with, the sexual morality that comes from what we call chivalry. However when Pastor Doug Wilson describes the distinct aroma of love that God uses to signal when a man pleases God by pleasing his wife, we don’t recognize the “Hail to the V” inherent in this new chivalrous (and not Christian) doctrine. The same goes for Wilson’s invention of the wife as house despot. While the Bible tells wives to submit to their husbands and call them lord, chivalry inverts the pattern.
Poets adopted the terminology of feudalism, declaring themselves the vassal of the lady and addressing her as midons (my lord), a sort of code name so that the poet did not have to reveal the lady’s name, but which was flattering by addressing her as his lord.
Modern day chivalrists are unlikely to call their wife midons, and instead simply call her the boss. But either way it is the chivalrous pattern that feels right to modern Christians, not the biblical pattern. The image of a husband kneeling (genuflecting) before his wife fits the chivalrous model, and is pleasing to our sensibilities. The image of a wife kneeling before her husband feels flat out wrong.
As I’ve covered before it isn’t merely Pastor Doug Wilson who has strikingly incorporated chivalry into his Christian theology. When Pastor Dave Wilson teaches husbands in Family Life’s Art of Marriage program that God speaks to husbands through their wife’s (non) burning bush, this is the religion of chivalry, not Christianity:
Dave: Yes. Here’s all you need to know about that night—the thing that changed our marriage is when Ann was sharing with me [that she wasn’t sexually attracted to me]—I had a pretty unique encounter with God. I sensed God was speaking to me, through Ann;
I could go on, including the explanation of why porn is immoral* by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. (President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Pastor Tim Bayly’s assertion that romantic love sanctifies married sex, and Stoeker and Arterburn teaching that a wife’s sexuality is her soul essence, which is her husband’s master. But for today I will leave the list of examples of current day chivalrous vagina worship and take us back to the source of our modern day religion of love.
It all goes back to what we know as chivalry. As C.S. Lewis explains in The Allegory of Love, the original proponents of this new religion claimed to be advancing Christianity while worshiping something other than Christ:
The submission which Lancelot shows in his actions is accompanied, on the subjective side, by a feeling that deliberately apes religious devotion. Although his love is by no means supersensual and is indeed carnally rewarded in this very poem, he is represented as treating Guinevere with saintly, if not divine, honours. When he comes before the bed where she lies he kneels and adores her: as Chrétien explicitly tells us, there is no corseynt in whom he has greater faith. When he leaves her chamber he makes a genuflexion as if he were before a shrine.54 The irreligion of the religion of love could hardly go further. Yet Chrétien—whether he is completely unconscious of the paradox, or whether he wishes, clumsily enough, to make some amends for these revolting passages—represents his Lancelot as a pious man and goes out of his way to show him dismounting when he passes a church, and entering to make his prayer; by which, according to Chrétien, he proves both his courtesy and wisdom.55
*The problem is not Mohler’s conclusion that porn is immoral (it is), but his use of unchristian theology to arrive at this conclusion.