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
MAGIC TOOTHPASTE? Yes! I am in love with this superior whitening toothpaste. It keeps my smile sparkling, without sensitivity or bleach! I made a website where you can directly order this miracle product! So if you want to give it a try, you can go ahead and grab a tube for yourself. I promise, your smile will thank you!Get a tube!
Be sure to check out my affiliate, Audible. Listening to audiobooks while I cook is literally my new favorite thing. And just for you, they’re offering a Free 30-Day Trial Membership. And with this free membership, you’re going to get 2 free audiobooks! Literally. Free. It is the best deal ever. And if for some reason, you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel within those 30 days and it’s zero money out of your pocket, plus, you get to keep the 2 audiobooks. Soooo…it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it’s a free and easy way to support this blog! So thank you!!
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
For Podcast versions of my posts, please check out Patreon! It’s only $2 a month!! You make this blog possible 🙂
And really quickly, I’ve had several questions concerning my Amazon link (amazon.com/shop/beautybeyondbones) — You do not need to buy one of my specific highlighted products on my page, in order for it to “credit” my account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first visiting my Amazon page, will credit this blog and help support this blog ministry. I am truly so grateful and appreciative to those of you wanting to do so! So thank you! Again, it is an absolutely free, and easy way for you to help keep this blog going!