Sunday, June 22, 2008
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Preacher
Spiders and their webs have long been the stuff of metaphors and similes in sermons of damnation. Way back in 1741, Jonathan Edwards told the wayward souls in his flock, "The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; ... all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock."
Today, the sinners of Northwest Arkansas are reminded of that old time theology by the Letters of the Apostle Jay, who writes, "It seems that the local spiders know just exactly where to place their webs in order to trap the maximum number of bugs. Well, of course they do. A web is designed to catch prey to be eaten. The World Wide Web is no different. ...Someday the world will be so entangled in this web that the spider will just walk right in and have lunch." You see where this is going.
Verily, Jay Cole the Junior says unto us, "The government won’t stop the allurement of pornography because it is too profitable and so many officials are paid off that it can’t be stopped. But I wonder just how many men could be spared from this government induced addiction to Internet pornography if they discovered that they were not really looking at women at all. I wonder how many men would stop looking at pornography if they realized that they were actually looking at male homosexual cross-dressers, female impersonators, skilled make-up artists and other men who have had sex change operations. ...Satan is a master of deception."
Be careful there, Reverend. Such invocations of phobic avoidance often involve projection as well as displacement and symbolization. Using homophobic examples to instill fear in one’s audience may reveal an unconscious fear of loss of control over one’s own sexual impulses, an external projection of an inner anxiety and a relatively primitive and transparent defense mechanism. Better stick with spiders and lay off the snakes.