Infidelity comes out of the closet...
The hot new infidelity web site, which promises that you'll have an affair or you get your money back, is doing a bus tour! The bus stopped yesterday at, of all places, Temple Square in Salt Lake City as part of it's "have an affair anywhere tour", which you can read about here.
Of course, we're all shocked and offended at this new online access to cheating. And yet, a new person is signing up every fifteen seconds, which is considerably more web noise than pastoral musings are able to produce. It appears that there are more people interested in a romp in the hay than, say, a discussion about Christian ethics, or the ramblings of a middle aged guy about how he encounters God in the everyday things of life, like sunrises and good conversations. Who'd of thought???
All sarcasm aside, though, I'll just observe that this "coming out" of infidelity seems to be simply the next chapter in our cultural evolution as consumers. It's gone something like this:
1. Declare that our right to the pursuit of happiness is inalienable, a divine right granted by God.
2. Allow that pursuit of happiness to be defined materially, with the result that we become a people characterized, throughout our history, as claiming land by divine right, either displacing or killing the occupants (both animal and human) as a result.
3. Throw in a healthy dose of mobility, enabling us to move out of our settings when they become challenging.
4. Continue the relentless pursuit of our divine right to happiness by seeking an economic dominance that will enable us to try and fill the aching void in our souls by shopping for more, bigger, and faster stuff, in spite of the clear and undeniable evidence that such pursuits are killing our planet and failing to deliver on the hollow promise.
There it is. Suddenly you have the perfect cocktail of discontent, rootlessness, and predisposition to demand the fulfillment of personal needs as a means of happiness. Throw all these elements in a blender and what comes out? A web site that matches you, in your pursuit of happiness on demand, with someone else who is just as frustrated, wounded, discontent, or bored. Now you can have that happiness that neither a faster car, implants, or season tickets were ever able to provide; easily and privately. The web site even comes with an app for your i-phone so that your paranoid spouse, who monitors your web tracks, will remain none the wiser.
This isn't shocking at all. This is simply the next step in our culture's worship service, held perpetually at the altar of self-fulfillment. What's sad to me is that the church has been quick to aim the gun at adulterers and pull the trigger, without taking the time to see the cultural elements that have created this problem. Until we think about our collective values and choose intimacy and interdependency over isolation, and service over self-indulgence, and quiet simplicity over loud ambitions, the infidelity siren will continue to sing, and souls will continue to crash and burn on her rocks.