Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Money and Bodies

Jesus talked about money a lot. A lot more than a whole lot of other things. If you total up his sayings, money was at the top of the list of topics he had on his mind. He called money a rival god, even. That's saying something. One of his followers, Timothy, said in one of his letters we have in the Bible that the love of money is the root of all evil. I have heard Christians parse that phrase to mean that money is not the root of all evil. It is the love of it that is. Except, I have never met anyone who didn't love it. Some have loved it less than others but everyone seems to like some of it. It's hard to live without it. And it seems easier to live easier the more you have of it. So the love of it makes for a whole lot of corruption in the world (see previous blog on The Red Market). And insanity. This summer pro athletes are signing contracts that any sane person would look at and laugh out loud. Are you kidding me? Drew Brees, pro football quarterback, is going to make 20 million dollars a year over the next 5 years. That puts him in the same high rent district as baseballers ARod, Jeter and soon to be megabucks star Josh Hamilton. Of course, the average baseball salary now is about 3 million a year. Why is this not laugh out loud funny to the rest of us shmucks who won't make in a lifetime what these guys make in one day? Now, I am not suggesting there is any corruption in how they make what they make. It is all legal and above board. But, if the love of money is the root of all evil, isn't what they're making corrupting them?  And even if we make so much less, how does it corrupt us?

The other thing I've been thinking about lately is bodies. Human bodies. ESPN the magazine is just out with their body issue. Olympic athletes posing nude. Last year they had pro baseballers and footballers, soccer players and tennis players without a stitch on posing only with strategically placed athletic equipment. Sports Illustrated has it's annual swimsuit issue usually featuring semi nude athletes. But even the non athletes look athletic in their swimsuits. There is no excess body fat to be seen and you could see it if it was there, anywhere on the body.

Of course, we know the original Greek athletic games were played in the nude (gymnasium is from the Greek word which meant to train naked).  We know all about the Greek glorification of the body. I guess we are simply reverting to form. Gyms and workout routines have gained popularity in the recent years. Movie actors are much more buff than they used to be. The female figure is used to sell everything from cars to body wash. Maybe we all aspire to the day we will look good nude. For most of us it will take a good long time.

The Jews and Christians were scandalized by some aspects of Greek culture. The gymnasium was one of them. They weren't prudes. They believed in the God who created the human body. It was and is a magnificent piece of craftsmanship. Even God said it was good! But, after that first sin in the garden, God also said put some clothes on. Somehow sin made it impossible to celebrate the human body as one of God's great gifts without our minds wandering to other things. Like separating a body from a person and objectifying it for our own pleasure. I'm guessing it's not the pure love of sports that sells the ESPN the magazine body issue or the SI swimsuit edition. I'm guessing a lot of minds are wandering.