Among the boodles of new work I’m facing for next academic year is the prep for a pair of new courses:
RLST 2236 EL 01 The Spiritual Life: Institutions & Practices
This course examines the variety of religious vocations in the religions of the world in their institutional settings. Primary emphasis is placed upon life in the formal setting of the monastery and avowed ascetic practices, but consideration will also be given to other forms of quasi-ascetic religious living, like among the Amish, and priestly vocations. We will look at the social organization, economies and politics of such communities, and the relationship of religious communities to the outside world. Other themes considered include the place of gender, celibacy, poverty, education and medicine in monasticism around the world. (S) (lec 3) cr 3
RLST 2237 EL 01 The Spiritual Life: Life Stories
This course examines the autobiographies, biographies and hagiographies of a variety of figures from the religions of the world. These spiritual life stories invite us to the consideration of the many facets of the religious life, such as conversation, confession, religious self-image, asceticism, veneration of saints, gender and religion, as well as the everyday life in religious communities.
(S) (sem/tut 3) cr 3
In selling the first of these courses, I’ve repeatedly advertized them to this year’s classes with the shocking promise of a week’s worth of lectures on flagellation. Of course, I’ve thought, should I REALLY do that? I’ve been mostly inclined to do it nonetheless: religious life –> asceticism –> active mortification (self- or at the hands of another). And so much good historical and popular stuff to draw from: Da Vinci Code and Opus Dei and dreamy albino self-flagellating Paul Bettany, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the real Medieval Flagellants and all that other fabulous stuff from one of my favourite book-possesions, a very old edition of Flagellation & the Flagellants: A History of the Rod in All Countries from the Earliest Period to the Present Time by Rev. Wm. M. Cooper, B.A.
If I’ve been wavering about lecturing on BDSM for God, I’m tipping more in favour of it now. For catching up on posts over at Dangerous Minds, I hit upon a post about Christian Domestic Discipline. Who knew!
And doing a little extra research (ie. Googling it) I hit upon this marvelous resource for all you devout couples out there which are burdened with an impiously unruly wife, CDD (which, I see, is linked in the DM post):
This website is intended to be a haven for married couples who practise safe and consensual Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD), or for those who would like to learn more about CDD. It is intended to provide support and encouragement for those who believe in traditional Christian marriage, with the husband as the head of the household, and the wife as his helpmeet.
This website is intended to provide a refuge for those interested in a Christian Domestic Discipline marriage. Here they might find information and share fellowship with other CDD couples without having to wade through pornography, warped practises, or distorted ideals of what we believe God created for marriage. This site is not the typical “spanking” site prevalent on the web. This site focuses mainly upon improving marital relationships by sharing the guidelines and marital roles listed in God’s Word.
I think the Dangerous Minds folk are correct:
The justification in their minds seems to be of a theological nature, an ass-slapping triad of master. slave and heavenly father! Take out the Christian references to a supernatural power and what is being described here is no different from a bog standard BDSM website.
However, it’s a bit prudish and fallacious on their part to go on to argue that:
If it’s not a zany form of Christian BDSM, then the alternate explanation of CDD must be that it’s a justification for domestic abuse invoking a higher authority. That’s where it transitions from kooky to sinister. One website tells husbands when it’s appropriate to spank their wives in front of the children! The “you’d better keep yourself up, or else” and the “look what you made me do” bullying aspect of this is simply appalling.
Though many still argue that extreme or even middle of the road BDSM is pathological or veiled abuse, I seriously doubt DM’d be prepared to argue that or connect it to wife-beating.
And without real proof of a connection between CDD, Christianity and/or spousal abuse, I see nothing sinister here at all (or zany for that matter). Rather, I don’t see anything more in CDD in the main than the self-same banality of Gorean, Medieval or Clown kink, and pretty much every other kind of durdy role-playing.
Spank me, Daddy! Spank me … for Big Daddy!
BTW, while it remains in bureaucratic limbo, this course is not dead and I intend to revive its approval process this year too, among all that admin-type work I’ve got to do:
RLST 22** EL: Religion and Sexuality
This course examines traditional religious attitudes and responses to human sexuality, from ways in which it is controlled or proscribed, to ways in which it is celebrated or embraced. Major themes considered include: monasticism/chastity; religion and the body; fertility rites; the religious aspects of marriage; religious attitudes toward homosexuality; tantra; sexuality in New Religious Movements; and, sexual imagery in religious literature. (S) (lec 3) 3 credits
Surely this will be a fine place to reuse my flagellation/CDD lectures. (The sales pitch will include the gag, “sorry, there is no practicum for this class.)
Also, this course will give me the motivation I need to finally read through all those University of Chicago Press books I got on sodomy (for 5 bux each) to which I’ve referred in mixed company just for fun – my boss’s discomfort and lame attempt at deflective humour was a big smile.
Now having finished this, I’m continuing with my work-avoidance by finishing up Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille. 😉