Saturday, August 20, 2016

the electric tiger

Lewis talks more about sex today in A Year with C.S. Lewis. By the way, if you want to follow along, you can buy the e-book version from bn.com for only $2.99 and read it on your phone, tablet, or personal computer.

He says that people who try to live chaste lives understand sexuality better than people who indulge in it. And that's true. But then he makes some bad comparisons, I think. He says that we understand it like Sherlock knew his arch enemy Moriarty, or like a plumber knows leaky pipes. I disagree. People who try to live chastely, I think, understand sex the way an electrician understands electricity. Or the way that a zookeeper understands tigers. Electricity and tigers are both dangerous, and will kill you if you mix with them without knowing what you're doing.

But if you know your stuff, you can rewire a house, or feed the tigers, with no dire consequences. You've kept the dangerous thing in its proper place, and so you're safe from the danger that it poses.

The connection to sex is obvious. Sex is a good thing, but very powerful. It can destroy us if it's left to run wild. But if we keep it in its healthy, appropriate place, it becomes our friend.

I know Lewis realized this, because he puts the exact idea into his book The Great Divorce, when the lying lizard on a man's shoulder which has been lying to him and leading him astray all of his life is transformed into a great stallion that carries him to glory when he allows it to be changed into its proper form. But for some reason, he chose a more antagonistic metaphor here for sex.

In any case, keeping sex where it belongs brings years of happiness to our lives, and children are often a result as well. They bring both tears and happiness ;)

Thank You, God, for teaching us to keep the electric tiger of our sexuality in its appropriate, life-giving place.

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