Stirring up love? Laying hold of fruit? A navel full of mixed wine (sex and alcohol? What is this, rock and roll?)? Grazing among the lilies? Breasts like two fawns? Breasts like clusters of the vine? Breasts like freaking towers?
Come on, Solomon. Get your crap together.
In a Church culture that came dangerously close to vilifying sex and marriage altogether (and sometimes actually did that), there was really no other option. That sort of stuff was obviously waaaaay too graphic to actually be talking about sex. That would be super gross and weird (not to mention sinful!)! No, what it was really about was the relationship between Christ and his Church. Because...that makes it...less weird? I guess? Maybe?
In any case, they were wrong. Most scholars now see it as a pretty frank celebration of human sexuality in marriage, although you can still make the case for it also being allegorical for the passionate love Christ has for his Church.
And that brings me to the title of this post: Theology of the Sloppy Wet Kiss.
It's taken from a line in the song, "How He Loves." (it's the one that goes "Oh, how he loves us" a lot). "But wait!" you say, because you speak out loud to yourself when reading posts on the internet. "I've heard that song a lot - like, a lot - and I've never heard the words "sloppy wet kiss." Well, that's because although the song was originally written by John Mark McMillan, it was popularized by David Crowder (of "The David Crowder Band"). And they changed the words.
Originally, the bridge went like this:
"And heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss."
However, fearing (probably correctly) that the evangelical Christian world would absolutely lose their crap over the line, Crowder changed it to the much less "graphic" "unforseen kiss."
Now, if you clicked that link up above (here it is again), you'll see that McMillan already wrote a post about this five years ago, but I didn't discover that until two minutes ago, so there's no point stopping now. So here it is:
There is nothing immature, or juvenile, or vulgar, or even irreverent in the idea of a sloppy wet kiss. In fact, as a married man, I can say without fear of retribution that they're kind of the best. Any sort of reservations or rejection is merely guilt by association. In and of itself, a sloppy wet kiss is good: It brings to mind feelings of passion, of union, of a love that won't stand on ceremony. Yes, it's messy...but then again, so was the cross. So was the Incarnation. So was this whole bloody rescue operation, ending with the triumph of triumphs and a wedding to put all other weddings to shame.
And my point, I guess, is this. Even the Church Fathers, the ones who thought that sex was basically the worst, still understood the value of that kind of imagery when talking about Christ's love for his Bride. They still understood the value of the profound mystery that Paul spoke about in Ephesians 5:32, although they misunderstood the rest. And I wonder if maybe we've forgotten that. I wonder if we're sometimes in danger of sterilizing the Incarnation, sterilizing Christ and his Bride, and forgetting that when you get right down to it, it was really more of an action/adventure story with a romantic twist.
PS: This, like many posts, was written entirely on a whim in the space of about 30 minutes, and may be poorly thought out. I guess we'll see in the morning.