Worshiping Pleasure, Not Sacrifice

The Catholic Church is obsessed with sacrifices.

The Lamb of God.

Jesus up there on the cross for our sins.

Having too many children vs. being “allowed” to use birth control and having enough money for those children born one year after another.

Sacrificing sex for celibacy.

Sacrificing the Bible because Catholic children learn to memorize the Catechism. “Where is God. God is everywhere.”

Sacrificing compassion to family members who want to play a favorite piece of music at their mother’s funeral. “That music doesn’t fit our Church guidelines for funeral music.”

Sacrificing women’s identity by denying them the right to serve as priests.

Sacrificing children to pedophiles to maintain the Church’s reputation and financial wealth.

I hate sacrificing as much as I hate the Catholic Church’s rigidness.

If I were to join a church it would be one that worships pleasure.

“Should we include this in our guidelines?”

“On a scale of 1–10, how much pleasure will people get from it?”

“An eight.”

“It’s in. But let’s find more 9’s and 10’s.”

Did you ever notice it’s almost always the guys in power asking us to make sacrifices?

“I know you think you deserve a promotion, but you need to be more patient. Swallow your ambition. Temper your temper. Make some sacrifices for the team.”

If I were to go back to the organized world of work and take a job it would have to be a pleasurable corporate culture.

Empowered. Engaged. Inclusive. Transparent. They’ve all become meaningless workplace culture buzzwords, kind of directional but really just the right things to say this year.

What would an organization be like if its decision making was guided by pleasure? Are you laughing? Good, because I think a pleasurable work environment would have a lot of that. Might a more pleasurable work environment lead to more profits and fewer Alpha bullies who were willing to sacrifice all the pleasure in life to making more, more, more? I don’t know but it’s a worthy experiment.

The history in my part of the country stars Catholic and New England Yankee men holding up sacrifice as goodness rather than telling people the truth.

“Life can we hard, especially when we’re cold and having trouble finding enough food or money for necessities. I know, I know. I feel kind of emasculated because I dropped the ball during the drought and totally mishandled that witch situation. But let’s party and have fun whenever we can, like our sisters from Salem. Sacrificing pleasure is not a holy act. It’s denial and that may be our greatest sin.”

Did you know that dancing used to be a form of church worship? That’s why very old churches have no built-in pews. People gathered for music, dancing and community. Fun, fun, fun. How do you like it? How do you like it?

Then Christianity got organized and with it came politics and men playing power games. Sacrifice killed pleasure at the altar of the male ego.

Get into your pew.

Bow your head.

Cover your head.

Follow our rules.

Give us your money.

Many things in my life are challenging. But I think challenges may be different than sacrifices. It’s not like I have had to kill a newborn son for a king or let an occupying force take my house and live in a barn. (Perhaps I sacrificed learning history as well as the Bible?)

“How are you managing? How do you stay positive?” people ask.

I prioritize pleasure.

Expensive coffee.

Linen sheets.

Italian notebooks.

Fresh tuna.

Sleeping nine hours a night.

Clean windows.

Bose speakers all over the house

100% wool sweaters and socks.

No commitments before 10 a.m.

Japanese pruning scissors.

Wearing dangling crystal earrings with my pajamas.

Buying that new novel instead of waiting 18 weeks for the library loan.

Reading a poem every morning with my Honduran coffee.

Putting my face up to the winter sunshine and feeling warmth on a miraculous 40-degree winter day.

Binging a whole Netflix series on a Saturday.

While my responsibilities increase and my physical world shrinks, I am increasing my pleasure.

If someone tells me, “Well, we all have to make sacrifices,” I will ask them how they are increasing the pleasures in their life. Just to play a little bit with their rigid assumptions.

Joy and happiness seem to be quick hits, fleeting cotton-candy feelings. Oh, but pleasure can last hours and days. Lazy, languid and generous.

I’m firing up the new COVID backyard fire pit. As soon as it’s really blazing, I’m going to throw my leftover guilt into it. If you want, bring yours over too. Let’s sacrifice that useless sucker and worship Pleasure. That girl really knows how to party.

Most happy in the wilder-ness of people, ideas and nature. Joyfully rebellious when rested.