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Love God            April 3, 2000

Is there salvation in sex?

by Vertigo

Email to a FriendDavid got up from bed. It wasn't a bed - I'm completely lying to you - it was a makeshift cot standing all rickety against the wall, supported on its other side by two, cold cinder blocks. He stood naked in the middle of the room, and repeated once again how he wanted to help me - how he wanted to make me see, and understand, just how important God was in my life.

I smiled up at the ceiling. I had met David at a dingy little café where I had started working two months before. The Acadian Café specialized in old-fashioned bread and rolls, and it was the favorite morning hang-out for all the recovering heroin addicts after their daily visit to the nearby meth clinic. In between serving rolls and coffee, David would sit and listen to their individual sob stories, doling out a large chunk of his paycheck in quarter and dollar favors to this eager group of practiced cons. Every week they told the same story about their past - every week the same story about their current hard luck - every week David took it all in like fresh, edifying snow.

In his spare time David played bass for Camel's Bump, an underground Christian punk rock band comprised of two other unworldly ex-Pittsburghians and one Minneapolis lad named Ethan who joined the band because no one else would have him. David and his buddies from Pennsylvania were bible-reading hippies with little education and a lot of faith that all we need is love.

And boy oh boy did David give me some love. Never had I met a young man so intensely focused on sex (and that's saying something) - he wanted it any time, any place, and in any way (as long as it didn't involve the neighbor's wife, murder, or use of a coveted object). This was fine with me - the focus on sex I mean. As a working artist, I was busy almost all night with rehearsals and projects, and almost all day with my job at the café. My only desire for a relationship was to have a willing lover at beck and call.

'I've never met a woman who wanted just the sex,' said David, watching me turn over onto my stomach, 'nothing else, with no strings attached.' I glanced at him - he was still peering at me, still naked, the gray stone floor spreading out from his feet like an ocean.

Our connection kindled in foreplay not in conversation, so I really didn't believe he wanted much else than sex either. But something in him demanded that I did - demanded that I should. Something inside, hidden from him, needed a higher calling in our activities - more than giving me pleasure, I believe David wanted to move me towards salvation as if he were a saint or holy messenger. In his mind our sex was an attempt at conversion.

I smiled into the sheet half covering my face and thought, he completely misses his own obsession - standing there in the midst of his few belongings, his white body completely exposed, his bible near me below the cot - he definitely misses what's going on here.

For David, everything moved outward - towards God, or into the world, searching, then expounding. I suppose the Christian teaching that faith alone saves, combined with the edict to go out and spread the word, made it easy for this young crusader to constantly enlighten and save everyone - except himself.

David was still looking at me, waiting for a response I guess. But what can you say to the almost tender immaturity of taking oneself too seriously? David wanted me to be moved by this great thing that had moved him. He had no clue that he persisted not so I would be saved - not so my soul would enter eternity - he persisted simply, and only, so that he could feel like he saved me. Unfortunately I was always frustrating his mission. I was more pre-occupied with this world and what I knew David really wanted.

I looked at him and his eyes narrowed like he thought they should in such a situation - one of high spiritual and moral consequence - his hands on his thin hips. I looked at him and realized what is most disquieting in any love affair, that my lover was a child in a way I couldn't stand. 'David,' I asked, 'how does God feel about your sexual appetite?'

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