Well, I thought I had seen it all in New York City. But friends…wow. Do I have a story for you.
And just a bit of fair warning here – tonight’s post is a little “Rated R” in situational content, so….buyer beware!
Allow me to set the scene: it’s Friday night. I am meeting up with “the boys” (aka: my guy friends, literally…I was the only girl) and we’re out for drinks at a cute little speakeasy bar in the Chelsea neighborhood of lower Manhattan. And after a while, we decide to venture out and look for a place for dinner.
So we’re walking along. Despite the fact that the majority of store fronts and restaurants are vacant, (thanks to Covid), NYC is now bustling with people again. Not really tourists, but locals who are out and ready to mingle, as well as a large population of homeless people, as sadly, that demographic in Manhattan has absolutely skyrocketed in the pandemic. (But that’s a post for another day.)
Anywho….we’re walking along, it’s about eight o’clock, and we’re meandering through the cobblestone streets of the infamous “Meatpacking District” – the trendy nightlife hotspot where girls in tight dresses brave those cobblestones in 5-inch platform stilletos to “see and be seen.” (No judgement here, I have definitely been one of them…)
Just to give you a flavor: you can always hear the faint bass from the loud techno music bumping in the clubs; there’s always suuuper nice, exotic cars that are out for “joy rides;” the restaurants are so exclusive that you basically have to take out a second mortgage just to eat there; and the entire neighborhood doesn’t shut down until about 5 or 6 in the morning.
So that’s the scene.
Anywho – you know how I mentioned those empty store fronts? Well – it turns out that this month, they have been taken over by an experimental theater company, who is doing a show through the month of July.
We turn onto this little street (that had been closed for this theatrical event), and there are three groups of about 50 people, all with headsets on, sitting in pop-up theater audiences in front of these storefronts that have been turned into closed-glass stages.
Intrigued, we check it out, only to find in big red letters above each of the three storefront stages, the words: LUST, ENVY, and WRATH.
The storefront with “LUST,” featured a single pole, with a woman in nipple tassels and a G-string, pole dancing. In the earphones of the audience, were her thoughts, being voiced by Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City.
Behind us, the “WRATH” storefront featured a dominatrix, graphically (and violently) interacting with her male partner. This vignette was written as a response to the murder of the spa workers in Atlanta this past spring.
I stopped investigating after seeing those two, but there were apparently five other vignettes just down the street, depicting GREED, SLOTH, ENVY, and PRIDE.
This immersive theater experience is called, SEVEN DEADLY SINS – (For my theater junkies it was directed by Moisés Kaufman of “The Laramie Project.”) Audience groups start in “Purgatory” where a drag queen (from RuPaul’s Drag Race) performs a strip show, and then leads them through the seven deadly sins throughout storefronts in the Meatpacking District.
I’ll tell you what, in the Vanity Fair write up of this theater experience, it said it would “make a devout Catholic pray for saving grace” and boy, did they get that right.
Here’s the thing: I wasn’t scandalized by this. I wasn’t disgusted. I wasn’t contemputous. I wasn’t even really that surprised, to be honest.
I was just sad.
I walked away feeling so so sad: that this is what’s out there.
Now look, I’m an actress – and I know the entertainment industry is chock full of filth and garbage, and frankly, that’s why I’ve chosen to stay away from anything that isn’t a commercial for a cleaning product, or an educational video aimed at toddlers.
But it just makes me sad that this level of glorification of literal sin is what people are paying $99 to immerse themselves in.
This wasn’t in some back alley of a deserted street at 2am, no – it was out in the open, – bright lights – on one of the busiest intersections in Lower Manhattan, where families and kids were walking by. Enlighten me: what’s a parent supposed to tell their curious 6-year-old about why that naked woman has a naked man tied up from the ceiling and is “attacking” him with whips and chains?
One of my friends commented that it felt more like the Red Light District, than a charming West Village historic neighborhood.
I just couldn’t help but think about the sadness that that Jesus would feel, looking down from Heaven, seeing this not only on display, but being lauded, praised, celebrated, glorified. I felt His heart break, as mine did as well: for Him, for humanity, and for the depths of degradation we’ve plunged to willingly.
It boasts, “No subject is off limits and no body part is left sacred.”
How terribly, terribly sad.
Obviously, this episode has stuck with me, and left me with a pit in my stomach I couldn’t shake.
And I finally figured out why. And it brings me back to this beautiful mirror I had in my bedroom growing up, that had etched into it Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
True. Noble. Right. Pure. Lovely. Admirable. Excellent. Praiseworthy. Think on these things.
Now, I need to jump in right here to preface all of this, that I am no saint, and of course, I consistently fall short of thinking on these things. And ironically here, my mind absolutely falls prey to the allures of every seven deadly sin. So I’m preachin’ to myself here….
But God gave us an instructions manual right there. There is a reason why He spelled it out so plainly: it because what we think about matters.
What we fill our minds with day in and day out – it plays a huge role in the shaping and influencing of our words, our actions, our beliefs, our temperment.
It is a huge deal.
That is why pornography is so detrimental to men and women and has eroded the true meaning of love and beauty of sex. It’s why social media and the ways we enviously compare our lives to those of models and celebrities has brought about depression and a deep dissatisfaction with our own lives. Rap music that normalizes rape culture, “bitches and hoes;” TikTok dances that encourage the sexualization of preteen girls; heck – even violent video games. These “time-and-mind-consumers” are all majorly influencing who we are and what we believe, whether we realize it or not.
Spoken another way,
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words;
watch your words, they become your actions;
watch your actions, they become your habits;
watch your habits, they become your character;
watch your character, it becomes your destiny.“
Faith and morality aside, I’ve had to learn this over and over again in my recovery from anorexia.
I am hawk-like in my diligence not to let triggering images or messaging with dangerously thin models, or weight talk, or calorie obsessed celebrities into my sphere of influence.
I learned from Day One of my recovery that it is essential for me to fill my mind, every single day, with Jesus – His words of love and care and hope – through worship music, Christian podcasts and articles, through Scripture, through conversations with my loved ones.
Because what we fill our world with, fills our soul, and shapes the person we become.
The filth and garbage and literal sin that was glorified in Seven Deadly Sins, that is just a blaring and grotesque example of what our society has chosen to elevate and extol. And we’re feeling the effects every day, in politics, in the rising rates of depression and suicide, in the breakdown of the family, the total and complete disregard for morality, and rejection of God.
I want to invite you tonight to join me in praying for our fallen society. That a grassroots swell of people might begin to question the validity of society’s secular gospel, and seek the Truth, and the real Source of love, and hope, and goodness and light.
And may we all strive to be living examples of a counter-cultural existence. Choosing to courageously demonstrate the true allure of Truth. Loveliness. Purity. Excellence. May our lives point to Him — and it all starts with what we choose to think about.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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90 responses to “The Wildest Thing I’ve Seen in NYC”
Thank you for sharing this!
thank you Eleanor! too wild not to share! Hugs and love xox
Wow. This was difficult to read, Caralyn. I see people actively engaged in slapping our Lord in His face. It’s sickening and disgusting behavior. Those in authority there need to step up to the plate to shut this down. And our country takes another slippery step down the slope…
Thank you John – you’re right- it’s a slap in the face, for sure. I completely agree. glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox
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Thank you for the link up. Hugs and love xox
It’s so sad that you’re forced to live in crass NYC where sin and evil abound. Not like god-fearing Ohio where the righteous live. Instead of “acting” you really should consider giving in to your true calling and get thee to a nunnery.
Thanks for your input, Steven.
[…] The Wildest Thing I’ve Seen in NYC […]
Thank you Tonya for the link up! Hugs and love xox
Amen. I agree wholeheartedly. Society has to change. Let us all do our best to be the kind and loving person whose actions reflect the love of Jesus and hopefully can impress those that we come in contact with enough that they in turn then also reflect that love and kindness. One person at a time exponentially can make a difference.
thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. you’re so right – may we all be those examples of His love! amen – one person at a time! Hugs and love xox
Beyond sad – let me know when theater features Phil 4:8 Whatever is honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise! Love to you! I am so glad you embrace those things ❤️
beyond sad indeed. thank you Laurie for sharing your heart on this. You’re right – embrace those things! Hugs and love xox
Yes, focus on the good!!! There is plenty of evil to focus on. We need to pray and then draw closer in our relationship with God. Good for you being sad. Love you as always. Hugs!!XO😀❤
focus on the good indeed! thank you Tonya for sharing your heart on this! yes ! pray pray pray! love you friend! sending big big hugs xox
Thank you for posting this! People who don’t love Jesus will not understand the connection why it is so difficult to see Him mocked. Stay courageous, Carolyn! Keep sowing to please the Spirit!
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this! you’re right – seeing Him mocked is like a pierce to the heart. it is so incredibly sad. and thank you for that uplifting verse!!! amen! Hugs and love xox
First, I’m joining you in prayer for the hearts of our nation.
Second, thank you for your candid post written with grace and humility. We all are sinners in need of the grace of Jesus Christ.
Third, We will not reach others by pointing our finger at their sin. But we can pray. We can love. We can lead by example. We can raise our children and grandchildren to know and love the Word of truth (the Bible). We can stand up for what’s right and good.
Thanks again. Keep shining!
hi Beckie, thank you so much for sharing your heart on this, and joining me in prayer. Yes! there is power in prayer! Hugs and love xox
Amen, Caralyn. I echo that prayer with you. It is very sad to see the depth of depravity our country and the world has fallen in to. May God have mercy on us, and spread healing, repentance, and revival through our country and the world.
thank you Ryan for praying along with me! i fully believe there is power in prayer! amen to that – Lord, have mercy!!! glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox
Again. You spoke to me.
I, too, am saddened by what the culture is proud of and celebrating.
But am I careful to think on “these things?” Am I pressing in to Jesus?
thank you Kathleen – i’m so glad this resonated with you. pressing in to Jesus – i love that thought. it’s a great reminder to strive to do that every moment of every day. Hugs and love xox
Keep writing. You are impacting people. ❤️❤️
The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you been?” And Satan said “I’ve been walking back and forth across the Earth seeking whom I may devour.”
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6)
Paul told Timothy: I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 2:1-4)
“…for all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”
But for God’s saving Grace, that would be me amidst the 7 deadly sins.
oh wow, those are some powerful passages. Thank you Myron for sharing them. we must cling to Him! Hugs and love xox
My heart goes out to you…to all of us, in fact. God Bless. 🙏🙏
thank you so much, R. Mine does too. Lord, have mercy! Hugs and love xox
You’re welcome, Sonya. Warm regards, Art.
I love it
thank you! Hugs and love xox
Wow… but sadly, I’m not surprised. And, regarding your question about families walking around out there, I’m sure there exist people who think that six-year-olds need to be exposed to that kind of thing so they grow up “sex-positive.” It is really sad.
I was telling someone the other day about how The Simpsons was so edgy and controversial when it debuted back in ’89, and yet it is so tame today compared to much of what the entertainment industry is putting out there. It really is frightening how quickly we have fallen…
Hey Greg, thanks for sharing your heart on this. sadly, i wasn’t surprised either. it really is so sad, and you’re right. the deliberate targeting of kids in these matters is just getting younger and younger and younger. It’s borderline grooming, to be honest. it really is wild to look back and see how far we’re strewn. Lord, have mercy. Hugs and love xox
A beautiful post and you so beautiful
thank you friend. Hugs and love xox
Excellent. Thanks! And, may I recommend reading a book entitled “For the Body” by Tim Tennett? It’s a great read that helps us reclaim a theology of the human body as a means of countering the hypersexualization of the culture.
thank you so much Lynn for sharing that reccomendation. i will definitely have to check it out! Hugs and love xox
Excellent text, “For The Body.” Also a good read for anyone who is dealing with sexual addictions or trying to help people who do.
What you witnessed sounded a bit like the Edinburgh finge here in Scotland. It takes place on Princes St which is a long piece of road that is shut offwhile the fringe is on during summer. One final question , Have you suddenly become Scottish (Anywho)?😂
haha, nope, can safely say I am not Scottish! haha but yeah, that sounds like the same sort of thing. very disturbing. glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox
I’d be there with you on being sad. It saddens me that this is what people now call entertainment. It saddens me that this is the society, the world I live in.
Philippians 4:8 is a favorite of mine and have used it more than once in writing an article. Paul wrote this for all of us. He knew well that our sinful selves want to look at and do those seven deadly sins! He admitted as much in Romans, writing how he did that which he didn’t want to do. And I find that comforting; the great Paul struggled as I do. And he was forgiven as I am.
C.S. Lewis made the analogy in “Mere Christianity” that God is like a people factory and the Bible is His instruction manual.
I join you in praying for our country and world, that we would return to God as a nation!
We should talk this week about your talk at CTK. When would be a good time for you this week?
Right? it’s just plain sad. and it’s definitely not entertainment — it’s filth. and you’re right – 4:8 was for all of us! i mean, gosh…my eating disorder was a result of the suffocating PRIDE that i had let consume me and become my everything. the seven deadly sins are something that no person is immune to. precisely why we need Jesus and His grace!! oh wow I love that analogy that Lewis used – he is so skilled at taking these lofty biblical concepts and putting them into “real people terms” haha Yes – praying with you! Yes – I’m sorry I’ve been so completely MIA, it’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks since we’ve been back from Wisconsin. I could chat this afternoon/evening though! i will have a handle on the brunt of my work by 3:30/4 and will be available anytime after that! or if sometime tomorrow would work better for you, i can make that work too! hope your week is off to a great start. sending hugs and love to you and your girls!
Thank you for writing this. I am part of the grassroots believers praying that our nation will return to God. Society and culture may change, but God’s Word does not. Sin still leads to death and Jesus still brings life. I’m praying more young people like you will find the truth.
thank you Marcy, I appreciate you sharing your hearts on this. You’re absolutely right. God’s WOrd is STEADFAST! Hugs and love xox
I agree with you. It is very sad that our culture has sunk to such a low level that they would call any of this entertainment. I a lot older (70) grew up in the 1950’s None of that would have been allowed on the public streets.
thank you friend for sharing your heart. – you’re right it is just so incredibly sad. i wish it still wasn’t permitted! Hugs and love xox
This is disturbing. Although, not surprising, unfortunately. I’m with you, I think all the emotions just blur into sadness; they think this is the best there is. I will pray with you for the lost and broken, for the hardened and unrepentant, for the ignorant who legitimately do not know what the grace of Jesus Christ can be like, that they would have eyes to see and ears to hear the redeeming truth of the Gospel of Jesus, and repent.
disturbing to say the least! thanks Eden for sharing your heart. i too, sadly wasn’t surprised. joining with you in prayer! God is good and has already conquered the world! 🙂 Hugs and love xox
How God must grieve over what sin has done to His creation and how His image-bearers reject the grace that we so desperately need!
you’re so right about that, Cameron. it breaks my heart to think of His grief!!! Hugs and love xox
[…] The Wildest Thing I’ve Seen in NYC […]
thank you for the link up! Hugs and love xox
Our lost country, very sad, Caralyn! As I was reading this, I couldn’t help but recall a quote I read from a Puritan preacher, John Trapp. He noted:
“God was but six days in making the whole world, yet seven days in destroying one city.”
That one needs to be read seven times to sink in, yes?
As always, I’m very proud of you, my friend.
hi Thompson, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. You’re right it is so so sad. oh wow, what a powerful quote. definitely had to reread it a few times. but wow. Hugs and love xox
Love right back at ya!
I was interested so I looked up some reviews. I have no opinion myself since, like you, I haven’t seen it. https://variety.com/2021/legit/reviews/seven-deadly-sins-review-new-york-city-1235008090/
Thank you Em for looking into it! yes, i actually read that when I was researching for this piece. I don’t know about you, but I’ll keep my $100!! haha Hugs and love xox
I’m saving my $100 too. Blessings.
Reading about what you witnessed reminded me of what our Savior once taught in a parable: “When an evil spirit goes out of a person, it travels over dry country looking for a place to rest. If it can’t find one, it says to itself, ‘I’ll go back to my house.’ So it goes back & finds the house empty, then goes out & brings along seven other spirits even worse than itself, & they come to live there.” If we don’t replace our sinful thoughts and deeds with wholesome ones the devil is more than happy to provide his version of entertainment…
hi Rollie, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. my mom told me this parable too when i was beginning recovery – it is so true- the enemy finds a foothold, and then throws a “party.” Lord, have mercy! Hugs and love xox
Hard to read… didn’t know about the display. I just hope the adults can shield children from things too heavy for them to carry and protect their innocence
it really is, and i pray that innocent eyes can be spared from this display of debauchery too. To be honest, i had never seen any of that in the flesh before, and i definitely felt like i lost some innocence that night. Lord, have mercy. thank you for stopping by. Hugs and love xox
I agree, sad that “deadly” doesn’t resonate with this crowd who prefer to make light of such things, to thumb their nose at God’s moral guidelines. Yes we are all sinners, but if Christian, sinners redeemed and going God’s direction. And our direction is key. I pray for enlightenment in accordance with Gods will for those caught up in this. He loves them, they have a spot in heaven too, but they must choose it thru Christ and walk as a disciple.
thank you Rick, you’re right about that – we must all choose Christ and reject satan’s allure of sin. Joining you in prayer! Hugs and love xox
Sad is right. Do the bishops and priests know this is out there? What we’re seeing is the Culture of The Lost, Dante’s Inferno has moved “topside”. His Eminrnce, Cardinal Dolan should resign in shame.
so sad. i don’t know if they know? I mean, I have friends that live in the neighborhood, and they had no idea that it was there. thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoghts! Hugs and love xox
The clergy better get educated real soon. The laity, those of us living amidst the distorted sexuality of our time, need direction, and affirmation that Judaea-Christian values are worth living by. There is no greater social injustice than broken homes.
Thank you for this post. I think we all need a reminder to listen to the world less and the Lord more!
Thanks for the review. Seems like a fun show. Gonna go check it out.
Awesome – best post in a while Caralyn! And I think your response was the right one. I feel it too as I read.
Loving your wisdom – thoughts, words, actions, habits, character, destiny
Our minds on Jesus…
I love your prayer, and exhortation
Yes, it is exciting – to think on corporate, public witness…
Philippians is one of my favorite and that verse I have been using often during this pandemic. Also, Paul never lost his joy, and found great Peace in telling others of the great hope there is in Jesus, from our sinful ways. We must not be complacent in telling the true story, not the case narrative being shared, that you saw. Sorry you had to see it, but maybe the Lord needed you to see it. Thanks for sharing. God Bless You.
Hi there – I’m not sure how I found you, but I’ve been following your blog for several years now. I’ve never felt the urge to comment as I do after reading this post of yours. I just want to say I commend you for standing so strong in your faith and beliefs in such a counter-intuitive setting. I could not imagine what it feels like to be a faith-filled Catholic living in modern day NY. I’m from a small, conservative town in Indiana and some days still feel like I’m the minority. I think God has placed you where you are to be a testament to others. It may sound cliche, but God bless you for standing up for your beliefs, for not faltering, and for being a light to so many others. Xoxo
Think about it — the Roman civilization Jesus was born into was just this perverse. People have not changed very much. Christians still have a lot to do . . . -Jeff
Ugh. I can’t say I’m surprised. NYC is disgusting now. It’ll take a while to clean it up. I don’t know if I ever want to go back to see a Rangers game. A lot has changed. I’m sorry Caralyn. 😞
sadly, you’re right about that. big prayers for this city. thanks for stopping by, Derek! Hugs and love xox
Before my conversion in my early twenties I lived worked and partied in that environment you describe. By the grace of God I was able to pull away from that life but the damage done makes a good life a continual battle. I was watching a video from an eminent psychiatrist who mentioned that every second of our life is stored away in our brains. What we see, hear, touch, smell is recorded. We obviously do not remember the great bulk of our experiences but each of those stored events shapes our life in the background. Things that are now subconscious can be activated by electronic probes in brain surgery and bought back from the depths and we see them clearly in an anaesthetized condition it seems. The Bible gives us the promise of a new mind with all the dross eliminated at the time of the resurrection. Thanks for reminding us of the need to not add to the burdens we already carry in our subconscious by viewing evil in its various forms though that is difficult in todays world where we are assailed with evil through multiple methods of communication.
thank you so much Ian for sharing your story. wow, what an interesting fact – i believe it…it forms our makeup, our being for sure. amen – He makes us new!!! Hugs and love xox
Powerful and impressive posting 🙂
thank you so much. i appreciate that. Hugs and love xox
Thank you for the post. one of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:8. I wrote devotions dealy with each attribute mentioned in the verse. It is a verse that lived out changes lives for the glory of God.
Thank you so much! I love that verse so much. oh that’s awesome and sounds like a really powerful exercise! glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox
Never stop speaking the truth. The devil preaches his gospel through entertainment in disguise. And We will not stop reaching out to the lost until virtually everyone is saved. Hell is meant for the devil & his cohorts, not humans🙂
Thank you so much Chris for your encouraging words! you’re right about that – we’ve got to be diligent to be able to spot those disguises. Hugs and love xox
Wow Caralyn, it’s incredible how these ungodly and filthy type of entertainment are not censored like conservative and Godly world views are. Like the Bible says…the end days will be worst then the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. This country needs much prayer…from the White House to it’s citizens. I can imagine the sadness of our Lord looking down at what we as a nation have embraced-it’s as simple as the word “SIN”. 🙏🇺🇸
It really is wild, Giselle. Makes me so sad to. And you’re absolutely right – the world needs prayer big time!! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox
Wow! This was such an amazing read. Thank you for sharing. You spoke of Jesus so beautifully, thank you! You are the righteousness of Christ Jesus. ~Angela
Joining with you , Caralyn, in this fervent prayer!! Mother Mary, pray for us.