Thursday, October 4, 2012
It was stolen from me by the American story. It was stolen from me by our puritanical religious roots, and by and entertainment culture that turns affection into sensuality...
Society and religion have bedded together to relegate touch to either the sexual or the inappropriate, with little in between." - Tony Kritz in Neighbors and Wise Men
I wonder at this. I think that one of the core evils in "American maleness" is the lie that touch between men is something gross, something to be avoided.
A friend of mine once confided that to be a single man in America, and especially in church, is to never be touched. Did you hear that? NEVER touched!
I'm sure he gets handshakes, or an occasional awkward side-hug from a woman. But do these touches say more about distance than grace, more about culture of aloofness than kindness.
I love it that I see young men beginning to hug again. Touch is good. Touch speaks where words often can't. I see young people fighting the homophobia of our culture with a faith that says, "Let people think what they think, I will love."
I imagine that the cultural taboo of touch among males has devastated America more than I've thought. Just look at the debate last night. Romney and Obama need to hug each other close for a long time. Ha!
I hope that Christians in America will one day touch again. That will be a good day, a soul melting day and a day when finally we give our fellow human beings the value we now reserve mostly for our pets.
If someone hugs me today, I promise not to push you away.
Let me share one more quote from Tony Kritz:
"That year (speaking of his time in Albania) I started to read my Bible in a new way. I started to see touch everywhere, particularly in the Gospels: fathers embracing sons, secretive contact by a peasant woman, a disciple leaning on Jesus' bosom, hands washing and drying feet, heads anointed with oil, 'Put you finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put int into my side.'"
Now if someone tries to put their finger into my side today, I will push you away.