*Language warning* I don’t usually swear but I use a swear word to quote Dave Chappelle, if you don’t like it, don’t read it. Also Dave Chappelle’s comedy is very offensive, again if you can’t handle it don’t watch! You’ve been warned!
Dave Chappelle has another new Netflix special out and they are pretty dark. Now Dave Chappelle has a tendency to talk about some pretty heavy subject matter. Race being his main component of his performance. I love Dave Chappelle because he barely does comedy… most of his material isn’t funny because it’s too real to be comedy. In “The Bird Revelation” he tells a story about a pimp who uses fear and devastating deception to trick one of the prostitutes into sticking around instead of leaving. He suggests that this is an analogy for how Comedy Central treated him while doing “Chappelle Show”. I’m guessing he legally is not allowed to say that this is what happened, so this is a clever way for him to get the truth out there. It’s scary if he is legally bounded not to say what happened, it shows how much power an organization like Comedy Central has.
However, the real kicker is when he calls this analogy the “Capitalist Manifesto”. He’s not just talking about a pimp or Comedy Central but the entire system we live under. First, what does he mean when he calls this analogy the Capitalist manifesto? I would suggest that he is trying to say that we are all prostitutes. We sell our bodies out to corporations who use fear and deception to keep us coming back even after we have reached our mental limit. He compares the pimp to McDonald’s and even says this explicitly, “Why do you think most of us work 9 – 5? Because 9 – 6 might kill a bitch.”
In the book “Pimp” by Iceberg Slim, The more experienced pimp says to Iceberg, beat the prostitute and then draw her a bath and give her some pills. He says she will be so grateful that you fixed her, that she’ll forget you’re the one who beat her. Earlier in the show, Dave talks about how every time someone stands up for something good we as a society beat them down. Colin Kaepernick stands up for justice and gets crucified, Chappelle even makes a suggestion towards what happened to Jesus. You don’t have to agree with everything someone says, but we should admire people willing to stand up even if we disagree. Chappelle also says, and repeats with emphasis, that the best prostitute (or “bottom bitch”) keeps the other ones in line. This means that in a Capitalist society, the people who make it to the top are the ones who keep the rest in line. AKA the more money you make, the more you work for the system. There is even a sense of Stockholm Syndrome going on here.
Isn’t this the story of our society today? Donald Trump has to come to mind, doesn’t he? He is a rich, “successful” businessman that the average person looks up to and even idolizes. Who doesn’t want tall buildings with their name in gold on it? People admire him and his ability to make money so much that they elect him as president. This makes it official that he is in charge of keeping everyone else in line. In the analogy, the Capitalist system is the pimp, Donald Trump is “bottom bitch” and we are all the other bitches. That is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true.
The pimp in Iceberg’s story is trying to control a woman that he has no control over. He uses fear and deception to get her to work for him just a little bit longer and just a little bit harder. This is Capitalism. We work for society, get paid as little as possible to work as long and hard as possible to make money in order to buy things because that stimulates the economy which is good for society. Great! Now we can work harder and buy more stuff and it just keeps going in a vicious cycle for no reason with no one ever wining.
The crazy thing is, we blame the government or we blame individual people, but it’s no one person or one group of people’s fault. We can blame society or Capitalism, but these aren’t actual things, these are concepts. They are concepts that we invented as an experiment to try to make the world work. The experiment has failed. No one is winning. Even the bottom bitch is still a bitch to this system which is pimping us out, even though it’s nothing! It is as if we created our own slavery to live under with no ruler, no pimp, no one to blame but our lack of courage to try something new!
The good thing is that we can change this. If we created it, we can break it and try something new. We hand our sovereignty over because we are afraid of what real freedom looks like. This is what Christ really came to offer, true freedom. True detachment from the system. Jesus said something significant about money and Capitalism, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar” (Matt. 12:17). We need to break this vicious cycle, let’s find a new way.
“‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’
She has become a dwelling for demons
and a haunt for every impure spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.
For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” Rev. 18:2-3
I get this question a lot when I go into the elementary school classrooms, however I can never give an adequate answer. The reason I can’t ever give them a real answer is because they are usually in about grade 5 and I think the only adequate answer is about sex. So yes, to your shock and horror I am going to sexualize God and the Bible and probably get everyone mad at me.
So usually I start out by telling the kids how God’s maleness isn’t just a sexist way to describe God but that God is called male for a reason. The Church is the Bride of Christ and Christ is the Bridegroom. This automatically makes God male and the rest of us female and not just in a metaphorical way. In a relation of human to human we have a type of female or maleness, but in a relationship on a supernatural level we are all female and God is male. I think this gets confused a lot because of modern society’s confusion with the distinction between sex and gender. Sex is a biological fact while (to the chagrin of the sexually liberated) gender is not an identity you choose, it is a type of person based on sex. The word Gender comes from the word “Genus” which means a general distinction (as opposed to a species or specific type). So gender is just a general category that we fit into based on sex. This distinction between gender and sex is not what this blog is about however…
So I want to argue that Sex and faith have the male female distinction and that God has used sex to tell us truths about Himself. I mean why wouldn’t He first of all? Sex is as close to Heaven, as close to bliss and ecstasy that we can get in our physical human form. It is a beautiful and wonderful gift that expresses the divine. The Bible expresses Jesus as the Bridegroom a lot!
In Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19 and Luke 5:34, the Apostles are referred to as the friends, guests, or children depending on the translation, of the Bridegroom commonly accepted to be Jesus Christ.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”- Matthew 25:1-13
“Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church” – Ephesians 5:22-25
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” -Revelation 19:9
The Bible is clearly using the relationship between husband and wife to represent the relationship between God/Jesus and His people (sometimes considered the “church” and sometimes considered the “city of Jerusalem”). There is an obvious ongoing metaphor so I’d like to take this metaphor one step further. I heard one time that a very devout Catholic couple referred to their marital sex as “Celebrating the Sacrament”. So why not bring in the sexual aspect of marriage into the metaphor from the Bible? I mean sex is a key part of marriage so maybe God is trying to tell us something by using this Bride/Bridegroom language all the time.
When it comes to male and female, we have to talk about sexuality, so we are going to get a little explicit here. What makes a man, a man is that he has a penis and what makes a woman, a woman is that she has a vagina (duh). So what makes someone male is the ability to literally and physically enter into the female. (See why I can’t explain this to elementary school children?) This makes the man the natural “aggressor” while the woman is the natural “receiver”. You could say that the man is offense and the woman is defense and we see this in stereotypical, traditional gender roles. Outside of just the sexual act we commonly see the man as the pursuer and the woman as the pursued. The man typically makes the first move while the woman decides whether or not to receive the offer. (btw I’m trying to make this sound less like a horror film but I can’t, so don’t think of “aggressor” and “offense” and “pursuer” in a violent or patriarchal way.)
In human to human relationship this is obvious, especially in the 50s. Now let’s take this analogy to God/Jesus’ relationship to His church. C.S. Lewis calls God “The hound of Heaven” and talks about how God pursues us. Just to make this blog post as sexual as possible let’s look at the naked picture on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel….
Look how God stretches, pursues Adam who represents humanity. God is on offense while Adam (all of us) get to choose whether or not we want to receive God. We can take the sexual analogy and say that God is the one who “enters into” our lives, our hearts. God is incarnated as a human being; God penetrates our physical world with the incarnation of Jesus. I’d even go so far to say that Jesus enters into us in a physical way in the Eucharist. The body of Christ literally and physically comes into our body. You could even say that we become impregnated with the graces of God and give birth to the Good works we perform. Now you can say that is over-sexualizing God but so what? If we see sex as something dirty or perverted then this seems disgusting or sick. However if we saw sex the way God sees it, the way He created it to be and the way it exists in an ideal Christian marriage then this is a profound explanation of our relationship with God.
So to answer the question, this is exactly why we call God “Father”. Because we are the Bride of Christ and Christ is our Bridegroom. God has to be considered male because of what being male is (which I think we’ve lost sight of lately). I think this is more than metaphor or analogy, I think this is the fullest expression of love. In a human sexual relationship the goal is to become one.
“and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Mark 10:8
The goal of our relationship with God is also that we should become one with the divine and that happens when God enters into our bodies, hearts and minds.
In the United States there has been a lot of problems culminating with Donald Trump being elected president. People who want real and significant change in the U.S. voted in Obama where he did very little in terms of real change. Obama himself has come on after each school shooting and has said basically, “we need to do something, but I don’t have the authority to do anything.” As much as I love Bernie Sanders and everything he campaigned for, if he was elected he would be able to do the same as Obama, very little. So why can’t these well intentioned humanitarian politicians do any real change? Well there are a lot of reasons that are all political and have to do with who is really running things, the rich and powerful. Hillary Clinton is the perfect example of this Elitist group. She is the status quo and caters to the billionaires who support her. Donald Trump is rich enough to be a part of this group but for some reason is not, probably because he is too selfish to do anything to make anyone happy besides himself.
America has their police killing black people in the streets for no absolutely no reason. They have mass shootings less than 100 days apart from one another. (see below)
Now if you think that standing in line and checking off a box is going to fix these things, you are out of your mind. Change will not happen through the illusion of democracy. That’s right, I said democracy is an illusion, Democracy is the real opium of the people (So there Karl Marx!). Everyone in a democracy feels like they have a say in what happens when really they don’t. They say it’s your civil duty to vote because it makes you feel like something is in your control… it’s not! The rich and poweful want you to vote because they want the status quo, Donald Trump is the closest the people could come to rebelling against this system. Donald Trump is like when you light off a firework in your hand, you do it just to see what would happen even though you know it might blow your hand off.
So how does real change happen if voting doesn’t change anything? Well in other countries that are “less developed” than America, they take to the streets in protest. They start a civil war if their government won’t listen to them. Watch this trailer below for Winter On Fire, a documentary about the Ukrainian people taking to the streets to fight for what they want. When people don’t get what they want, they rise up and force their government to listen to them. All democracy is doing is making false promises about how to fix things and about how much say we have. Fix school shootings, that seems like priority number one, but no one can because of Democracy!
Now there have been some rioting and protesting after Trump was elected. I applaud the fact that people are passionate enough about issues to actually protest. I disagree with those who say protesting doesn’t do anything, for Martin Luther King Jr. it seemed to work very well, where did that mentality go? The problem is that the protesting going on is against something, Donald Trump, but what is it for? MLK protested FOR equality, not just against racism. That movement had specific things that they demanded happen in an immediate time frame. That is what we need now, unity over certain important issues. Gun control would be first on my list, if you don’t want to see more children get shot then organize a rally for some specific gun laws to be put in place. Lobbyist have shown how much power they have, but that power is really just the power of protest. When the suggestion of a new gun law comes in, the NRA squashes it down by protesting (mind you they have lots of money to back them up which is why politicians don’t dare go against them).
But I would argue that the real power is public opinion. I am addicted to documentaries lately, and I see how much impact a simple movie can have. Look at Black Fish, a documentary about Sea World and cruelty to the Orca Whales in captivity. That movie had a major hand in the closing of Sea World’s across North America! How can a movie have such an impact? Public opinion. If the general population agrees that something is wrong then the government has no choice but to act. However when the majority is only 51% that really isn’t a majority. That is the real failing of the U.S. political system, split the country into two groups, make them hate each other and the rich and powerful can decide whatever they want because Republicans and Democrats are too busy fighting over what they don’t agree on to unite against the things they do agree on. There are things that everyone hates and everyone loves (or most hate and love). Not many people think racism is good, no one thinks school shootings are acceptable, not many like the death penalty… but those issues never came up in the debates.
So America, I encourage you to take to the streets and organize protests. The Black Lives Matter movement is one of the best things I’ve seen from the States in a long time. Just look at the people in that picture! It is inspiring to see people marching in the streets for something important like equality. Support these movements! And even if you don’t agree with the intricacies of the specific protests, appreciate the courage and the passion that is behind these protests. To sit in your chair and criticize people who love their country enough to go out and actually do something is cowardly. Don’t be a coward, go stand up for what you believe in!