Window Shopping in Rosse Buurt
Wandered into the neighborhood
for a bit of self-indulgent window shopping.
Dimly backlit, the wares displayed behind glass:
living life-like mannequins
in varying casual pose,
some in seemingly bored posture,
stripped to the bare essentials–
no fancy window dressing–
in window upon glowing window.
The glass returns a vague reflection
emptied of vibrant hue,
subdued by the colored lights
on the other side of the glass.
Tapping for attention…
slide-stepping to the next window
occasionally tempted to tap back,
toying with the intimate decision of purchase
euros burning a hole
heart becomes engorged
beating against itself
an assault of valves
a battle lost to the head
peeking into window after window
deeper and deeper into De Wallen
rounding a corner that dead ends
but a used condom left leaking
on the edge of the end of the sidewalk.
I have been avoiding this post. The topic is not pretty. Not something discussed in polite circles. Certainly not lengthy sermon material. Embarassing. Shameful. And I have personal experience–something I have struggled with off and on throughout my adult life. Pornography and masterbation.
Rosse Buurt is a red light district in Amsterdam where prostitution is legal. This I know only from research, I have never been. But I’ve been on the internet. And as a young boy, I glanced through the glossy pages of magazines the neighbor kid snuck from his dad’s workshop. I’ve allowed lustful fantasies to roam through my thoughts. It’s all around us in the media and programming and advertising. And it’s all empty. It drains creativity and confidence. It leads to nowhere.
Anyone familiar with the teachings of Jesus knows that he spoke against lust. He also spoke specifically against masterbation as well. (He did?) Check out the sermon on the mount in the book of Matthew, chapter 5, verses 27-30. Verse 27 addresses physical adultery. Jesus ramps it up to just looking at a woman (who is not your wife) with lustful thoughts–a matter of the heart. This coincides with pornography, which is all about looking and thinking and fantasizing. Jesus offers a solution in verse 29, pluck out your eye! If you can’t stop, get rid of the instrument causing the offense. Then he offers the same solution in verse 30 for the hand. Why the hand? Yeah. You get it now.
Of course no one wants to mutilate their body–poke out their eyes or cut off their hands. So what’s the solution? It’s a matter of the heart. But the eye needs to see and the hand needs work. Set your eyes upon Jesus. Work works of righteousness. As the writer of Philippians encourages, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey