I was first introduced to Pope John Paul II’s Theology of The Body about 5 years ago when my wife and I went through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). We were given a copy of Theology of The Body For Beginners by Christopher West. I read the book pretty quickly and after reading I was totally convinced that joining the Catholic Church was the right decision for our family. What is Theology of the Body? Here’s a short description from the book:
The Theology of The Body is John Paul II’s biblical reflection on God’s mystery discovered in the human body. JPII explains the physical and spiritual meaning of sex, marriage, and purpose of our God given bodies. He also encourages a true reverence for the gift of our sexuality and challenges us to live it in a way worthy of our great dignity as human persons. His theology is not only for young adults or married couples, but for all ages and vocations, since it sums up the true meaning of being a person.
If you haven’t looked into this yet, I highly recommend studying the complete series. There are books, workshops, and different courses on the subject. I’ve only scratched the surface myself, but I am hooked. So with that, let’s get to the fun part of the article…
As a huge fan of literature, TV, and movies, I sometimes can’t help but apply what I have learned about God’s design for our bodies to what I am consuming. I know what you are thinking. “This should be the longest list EVER!!” Well, I only have so much time to write, so I decided to pick some of my favorite characters that I know pretty well. So here are some fictional characters that should study the Theology of the Body.
Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother, is probably this generations most popular womanizer. He is responsible for so many great quotes like, “Suit up!!!” & “Legen…wait for it…dary.” Most of America, me included, gave him a pass as he slept with hundreds of women, hung out in strip clubs, and got a divorce when he wasn’t willing to work hard enough for his marriage. It wasn’t until he experienced fatherhood that he finally gave up his womanizing ways. Go figure. He had had sex with hundreds of women, but when he finally pro-creates, the main purpose of sex, he finds love and settles down. The last line we ever hear him say is to his daughter, “You are the love of my life. Everything I have and everything I am is yours. Forever.”
Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is probably my favorite book that I read in college. So many great themes going on, but in this case, we will concentrate on Victor Frankenstein trying to create life outside of God’s design. Unable to cope with the death of a loved one, he tries to play God and create new life from death. Not only did he want to create life, he wanted to completely exclude women from the process. Last I checked, life is created by both a man and a woman and it does not include lightning bolts. (Maybe some fireworks, wink wink.) In the end, he only created death and destruction for everyone around him and everyone he loved. Did you even read Genesis, Dr. Frankenstein?
Too obvious? Yeah, let’s move on.
There was an episode of That 70’s Show when Red’s wife Kitty gave him a copy of The Joys of Sex. She expressed that she wasn’t getting enough affection from Red and was not satisfied with their physical relationship. She decided it was time to “spice things up a bit.” If it were up to Red, he would have given sex altogether and preferred being left alone. I think if he had been given a copy of Theology of The Body, maybe it would have spiced up multiple aspects of their marriage long-term, and not just the physical part.
Dr. Gregory House
Gregory House is a brilliant doctor that doesn’t can’t seem to get past his own ego and see the beauty of the body. The human body is nothing more than a puzzle for him to figure out. It’s almost as if his mind is to good for the body. For him, the purpose of the body is to amuse him. Not to pro-create, not to serve God, and not to be used as it is intended.
The Cast of Sex In The City
I probably hate this show more than just about any other show ever created. I am only including it because my wife suggested it. A show about a bunch of women that encourage each other to have one night stands, tons of promiscuous sex, and treating sex like it’s something you just get to have when you feel like it, is not my kind of show. And viewers gave them a pass because they are women. Because male characters have been “behaving badly” for years, now it’s the women’s turn. Instead of demanding better behavior out of the men, we just let the women copy the behavior. For these women, the purpose of sex is strictly something you do to make yourself feel good. Orgasm or bust. Pro-creation is an after thought or a problem to be dealt with. Almost every bit of value that these women place on themselves is based on whether or not they are seen as sexy and how desirable they are. We are all so much more than that.
When we think of the most recognizable male sex symbols in pop culture, James Bond has to be right at the top of that list. I don’t think his character has ever gone to bed alone or with the same woman twice for that matter. Why do we continue to flock to movie theaters to watch him save the world and get the girl? I feel like we all give him a pass because he is charming, he always outsmarts the bad guy, and it’s not like any woman ever object to hopping in the sack with him. I am not saying the guy has to get married and settle down. In fact he almost did in Casino Royal. Maybe celibacy is the way to go if your purpose in life is to save the world.
There are few better tests for whether or not someone lives a life in submission to God than what he or she does with their sexuality. Sex is such a powerful and meaningful desire that to give it up and obey God in that area is a true sign of worship.
Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend