Oh, come on. Everyone has a "Minister I’d Like to Frisk.”
By John D. Spaldiing
My wife and I recently had a young priest to dinner, and we were surprised to hear how much hanky-panky goes on at seminaries these days—even at relatively conservative seminaries, like the one my friend attended. “Let’s put it this way,” he said, “there was so much hooking up among single students I couldn’t keep straight who was with whom.” Granted, my wife and I did meet at div school ourselves, but we recall a lot less socializing on campus in our day, and we went to Harvard Divinity School—that supposed hotbed of libertine paganism, naked devil worship, and unrestrained Unitarianism.
Then again, many of our fellow students were older professionals seeking a second or third career. And, as my priest friend pointed out, seminarians are generally younger today.
On the other hand, it may just be that clergy, despite a growing celibacy trend among lay people, are a lot more randy than I thought. Carmen Renee Berry’s new book, “The Unauthorized Guide to Sex and the Church,” offers some eye-opening statistics about the sex lives of ministers. Did you know that, according to a 2000 Christianity Today report, 33 percent of the clergy surveyed said they’d visited sexually explicit web sites, and that 53 percent of them visited these sites more than once? Berry cites another survey of 300 Protestant clergy in which 38 percent admitted to inappropriate sexual contact with parishioners, and 12 percent admitted to sexual intercourse with them. Similarly, a survey sponsored by the Fuller Institute of Church Growth in 1991 revealed that 37 percent of pastors confessed to having been involved in “inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church.”
These numbers struck me as high, but the more I thought about it the more I saw how ministers, those irresistible and all-too-human charmers, could easily find themselves in compromising situations. They’re smart and sensitive, and they speak with authority on life’s ultimate mysteries. They’re the good and caring listener every desperate housewife wishes her husband could be. And they proclaim the Word of God, often before large crowds and sometimes on TV, and some are even bestselling inspirational authors. How sexy is that? Indeed, some ministers, and not just the big names, are like rock stars, complete with diehard fans and groupies.
And let’s face it, sex sells everything, even religion, and there are a lot of successful pastors out there today. For example, I just Googled “Joel Olsteen” and “handsome” in the same search, and the first hit I got was a chat room in which one woman describes the lean, tousle-haired Houston televangelist as “handsome and so sweet and precious.” To which another woman replied: “I love ‘Joel Osteen.’ If I am flipping through the channels, and I come across him, he just ‘inspires’ me [her quotes, not mine].” Yet another woman replied: “I saw Joel Olsteen’s service too last night—well some of it. It touched me—even as a stay at home mom.”
To explore the appeal of ministers further, I’d like to conduct my own informal survey among SoMA readers. How many of you find yourselves sexually attracted to a member of the clergy? Or, to put it another way, how many of you have a favorite MILF—a “Minister I’d Like to Frisk”? (MILF is an acronym I learned, and have adapted, from “How Tough Could It Be?,” Sports Illustrated writer Austin Murphy’s memoir as a stay-at-home dad. Murphy said that MILF stands for, as best he could tell from the contexts in which he heard men use it, “Mothers I’d Like to Frisk” or “Mothers Indisputably Looking Fine” or possibly even “Mothers with whom I’d Like to Discuss the Federalist Papers.”)
So be honest, reader, is there a minister you’d like to frisk? Are you hot for, say, James Dobson? Does his comb-over make your pulse race and your knees weak? Or are you more of a sucker for the boyish (some might say Boy Scoutish) good looks of Ted Haggard?
Then again, if you perpetually feel naughty and in need of firm discipline, perhaps you find yourself attracted to Pope Benedict XVI, aka “The Enforcer.” And I bet there are some old-timers out there who still hold a torch for Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, the sexy, superstar evangelist who disappeared while swimming at Venice Beach one day in the &rsquly20s only to reappear a month later in Mexico with a cockamamy story about being kidnapped.
Or maybe you simply long for your own pastor, hoping he or she will soon drop by your house on visitation rounds and minister to your real needs.
In any case, if you have a MILF—a “Minister I’d Like to Frisk”—we at SoMA would like to hear about him or her. Please use decency and discretion, however, to protect the identity of the innocent (or guilty, as the case may be) and to shield yourself from a lawsuit.
To tell us about a minister you’d like to frisk, or to comment on this story, click here.
John D. Spalding is the editor of SoMAreview.com. His last piece was The SoMA Idolatry Quiz.
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