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Don’t Gimme That Christian Side Hug

By Billy | March 11, 2010

Please, give me that Christian side hug, giggle till your whole torso aches, then come give me a real hug.

I’m 99% sure they’re serious about this.  According to the wikipedia page about Christian side huggings, people at the conference at which the rap was originally performed may be sent home for “front hugging.”  Imagine you walk up to your friend and pat them on the back while standing next to them.  Congratulations, you’re pretty much side hugging.

Hm.  I am totally down with abstinence, which is the front behind which I’d place the side-hug phenomenon.  The problem arises when practitioners don’t understand what they’re participating in, or more importantly why.  The idea, as I understand it, behind the Christian side hug is to reduce any possibilities for sexuality, especially unchecked sexuality, to occur in the presence of God — particularly at a Jesus oriented youth conference, or even in a church.  Perhaps accidental crotch brushing will lead us into temptation and deliver us into evil.

Things like this used to make me want to throw things (computer monitors) [out windows].  Now they just regular frustrate me and make me want to dissolve lies and ignorance.    This is just another symptom (believe it or not ignorance and misguided people in power are not the cause, but just a symptom and effect of…) of the craziness that is American society.

I don’t think it’s quite fair to say that Jesus doesn’t condone front hugs, nor do I think it’s particularly helpful to prevent people from embracing each other in order to maintain a clean mind.  The New Testament discusses sins of the mind versus sins of the flesh and that they are similarly harmful for the soul (read: hurt our readiness to realize our oneness with the Divine).  The book of Romans discusses grace through the law versus grace through faith.  The Torah laid out guidelines for living, but the Prophets spent ages trying to remind people that walking humbly with God and deeds of loving kindness were what was necessary.  This whole side hug deal is just creating more arbitrary law, rather than embracing a cultural habit of grace through faith.  Let’s stop making little things like nakedness and human contact into sinful sexual acts and allow them to be meaningful, together-bringing ceremonies of love.  We’ve lost dancing, we’ve lost holding hands, we’ve lost sitting on friend’s laps, we’ve lost clothing our bodies, we’ve lost unclothing our bodies.  I say we reclaim our society and bring dancing back to the realm of normal expression, not mating call.  Let’s hold hands when we want to touch someone, let’s wear whatever pieces of cloth on our body we want to and not worry about the sexual implications others might interpret it as.

If I see you, chances are I will front hug you.  And there will be plenty of space for the Holy Spirit in that hug.  Jesus probably will forgive us for it, and we won’t be sent away in a coma.  Sorry Christian side-huggers, I just think you’re perpetuating the problems you’re trying to avoid.  If you don’t want people to objectify other humans, don’t respond to the world as if it were filled with other objects.  We are not objects, we are humans.  As babies, if we don’t eat, we die. If we’re not touched and held by other humans, we die.  Please keep feeding each other, please keep touching each other.  Please keep hugging me.  From the front.

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