Gavin Richardson

I went to the store and wandered around, staring at everything on the shelves. Some things I liked; some I didn’t. Many I looked at for a long time, thinking, Hmmm. She would look good on my shelf! Others I passed by quickly: Ewww, gross! Then suddenly, it happened. There she was—beautiful, tall and thin, with hair I could run my fingers through for hours. I snatched her up, ran to the front of the store, purchased her for a reasonable price; then I jumped in the car and drove away with my new mop.

I loved that mop. But she started to wear out. Her color didn’t appeal to me; her hair was not as fabulous. So I threw her away and set out to buy a new mop.

Consumption or Love?

The manufacturing terms perceived and planned obsolescence describe the products we buy that are designed to break down so that we will have to buy new ones or that are marketed in such a way that we are compelled to buy a new one because new means better.

mop Ftr CF 8060339060_00fc5e2679_oWhat does buying a mop have to do with sex? We participate in a culture of consumption. The process of purchasing, using, throwing away, and buying another has become such a pervasive part of our culture that we extend this behavior to our relationships.

Have you ever felt used? Yes? That’s it. You were part of the consumption culture. Warning: People, both male and female, are apt to see each other not as people to love but as objects to consume. Being used and discarded makes us feel as if we have no value.

Perceived and planned obsolescence are not part of God’s plan for us. God gives us time and a prayerful heart, significant keys to entering into an intimate relationship. God also gives us the soul to love well. What is love? Check out 1 Corinthians 13:4–7. Read different translations. You won’t find a section on “hooking up” or “friends with benefits.”

My dog is sneaky. At night she goes outside and pretends to go to the bathroom. Then she comes back inside and runs to the kitchen. She does this because some years ago, I would send her outside before bedtime and give her a treat when she came back in. Now, she tries to manipulate the situation.

Sex is an intimate gift. We should not try to manipulate the situation or the relationship so that we “get some.” God calls us to stand against the culture’s consumption mentality, to treat one another with love as it is defined by scripture, and to enter into relationships in ways that are healthy, loving, and life-giving.



devozine Couple Talking TS 86486155What are the discrepancies between the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 and our culture’s ideas about intimate relationships? What ways of showing love are faithful to the scripture? How can I change my relationships so that no one feels used?

Prayer: Loving God, help me to see in others the beauty you have created and see in them. Help me to love others as well as myself. Amen.

Photo Credit: dzarro72 via Compfight cc

Gavin Richardson , a self-described “church misfit,” is “the short one” of the co-founders of the YouthWorker Circuit, the relational resourcing entity of the YouthWorker Movement.

—from devozine (July/August 2011). Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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