My knowledge of Dawn Eden, newly ensconced at Patheos, consists of having read a few of her blog posts and assorted interviews. I know the thumbnail sketch of her life: former rock journalist (and by her own admission a bit of a slut) who after Christ entered her life gave up sex and rock’n'roll in favor of pursuing Catholic academic pursuits and preaching the virtues of being virtuous, particularly in the chastity realm. I’m pretty sure Pope Benedict XVI has her on speed dial for any and all theological questions, she’s so deep into pursuing knowledge. But I digress.
Given that Eden (actually it’s Goldstein, but she uses her middle name as her last) last wrote about rock in 2000 or thereabouts, it’s possible she might be familiar with Canadian guitar rock band the Tragically Hip which made its recorded debut in 1987. The Hip, as the band’s fans refer to the quintet, is a long-running institution in its native land, routinely topping the charts and selling out (what else?) hockey arenas from coast to coast, while in the United States it is a solid cult favorite.
I rather doubt Eden rushed out to buy the CD of, or download, Now For Plan A, the Tragically Hip’s latest album which hit the streets last week. I have no idea what kind of music she listens to these days; whether she avoids rock because of past connections, if it doesn’t bother her, if she simply doesn’t care for the music anymore or whatever it may be. On the surface there’s no discernible connection between her traditional Catholicism and band leader Gord Downie’s often inscrutable stream of consciousness lyrics that offer fragments and disconnected threads, almost defying the listener to discern what is being said. Yet whether intentionally or coincidentally, in his latest musings Downie amplifies part of Eden’s thoughts on relationships. To wit:
Baby, when’d you get so Zen?
When I used to know you when
When you thought all my dreams sucked
I was just happy you gave a f—
What, you were expecting moon/June/spoon? This is Gord Downie, folks. That aside, the chorus is the money quote:
And we don’t want to do it
We want to be it
In a few words, intentionally or no Downie succinctly outlines a huge part of the fundamental behind Eden’s arguments on behalf of abstinence outside of marriage.
Do we give our bodies to each other for the sake of momentary pleasure that fades the moment we’re done? Or do we give ourselves to Christ the Bridegroom, letting His intense love for His bride the church, a love so great He gave His life for us, shine through us even as a man and woman’s love for each other shines through them as they pledge themselves solely to each other?
Do we celebrate sex’s holy and pure nature as not only the means of creating the next generation, but as a symbol of His love by giving ourselves fully and completely to our sole soulmate? Or do we debase it by turning it into a carnival game with empty orgasms and conquests as our prize?
Which do we choose? Do we choose to do it? Or do we choose to be it?
(It’s worth noting the lyric also brings up the issue of why conservatives and Christians routinely fail to support fellow conservatives and Christians, such as Mark Scudder, in the arts. It’d be far preferable, and I say this as a huge Tragically Hip fan, to have artists on our side we can point to for this illustrations without everyone in unison replying “who?”)
A lyric further along in the song warrants mention:
And all our friends gave us a week
And we’re still happening as we speak
How often do couples who refrain from sex before marriage get ridiculed by those who don’t? I suspect, based on what I read and hear, quite often. Yet they are far more often than not the couple that lasts.
To be it, no merely do it. That’s a goal worth aiming towards.