Involuntary Erections

The end of the semester draws near and I am reading the first drafts of student research papers. Among the many quotes I read was the following jewel by Saint Augustine:

Women should not be enlightened or educated in any way. They should in fact be segregated as they are the cause of hideous and involuntary erections in holy men.

What I particularly like about Augustine is that he is a fantastic example of how an exemplar of faith is not exempt from blindness. Regarding so many matters about the Xian life he is a master and a profound source of inspiration, but when it comes to his thinking about women and sex, it appears that vestiges from his time as a Manichean remained.

So, here is a challenge for you. The next time you have a theological discussion try working the phrase “involuntary erection of holy men.” into it. The challenge, of course, is to do so in a way that it connects with the content of the conversation and it flows with the point you are making. You don’t want to perpetrate a non-sequitur such as, “Yes, genuine discipleship requires critical engagement with the world while engaging in the full life of the Church, and thus avoiding the involuntary erection of holy men.” Kudos to you if you are able to use this phrase so that it flies under radar.

I have to finish by giving the young lady who used this quote in her research paper two thumbs way up. I mean, it is not often that I can be so entertained while reading student papers.

9 Responses to “Involuntary Erections”

  1. Chris "Lefty" Brown  

    Is that an involuntary erection of holy men, or are you just happy to see me?

    I have a similar love/hate relationship with Martin Luther. Having been around seminary students for over a decade now I can see why Luther can be both royal prick and holy fool for God. I like a theologian I can have a drinking contest with and then argue what the spirit of the word means at the same time….but dammit he was a son a bitch when it came to German peasants and jews.

  2. tom  

    I will certainly work on the challenge of using this in a conversation. While reading Wesley I discovered his wonderful use of the word “ejaculations”. Now mind you this obviousely meant something a bit diferent in 1733, but non the less my imature junior high mind thought it was funny. In self examination at the end of the day one of the questions asked of himself by Welsey was, and I qoute, “Have I duly used ejaculations?” Work that into a sermon. Maybe like, “I would like to challenge the congregation to duly used ejaculations today”

  3. Anthony Velez  

    Chris – Pretty good, and definitely funny, but it is still a little awkward as far as flow goes.

    Tom – I too have come across the term “ejaculations” in the manner you are talking about, and it conjured up my inner junior higher as well. If I remember correctly I have encountered this term in phrases such as, “Spirit inspired ejaculations” or “render holy ejaculations unto the Lord”.

  4. Simon  

    LOL!! I’m going to call it my “Holy man” from now on!!!!

  5. Roger Green  

    Anthony- I’ve done something to you I don’t believe I’ve ever done before; I’ve tagged you –

  6. Roger Green  

    The last part of this addresses the Luther theorem:

    There are 3 good arguments that Jesus was Black:
    1. He called everyone brother
    2. He liked Gospel
    3. He didn’t get a fair trial

    But then there are 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Jewish:
    1. He went into His Father’s business
    2. He lived at home until he was 33
    3. He was sure his Mother was a virgin and his Mother was sure He was God

    Of course there are 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Italian:
    1. He talked with His hands
    2. He had wine with His meals
    3. He used olive oil

    And as well there are 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was a Californian:
    1. He never cut His hair
    2. He walked around barefoot all the time
    3. He started a new religion

    There are also 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was an American Indian:
    1. He was at peace with nature
    2. He ate a lot of fish
    3. He talked about the Great Spirit

    But then there are 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Irish:
    1. He never got married.
    2. He was always telling stories.
    3. He loved green pastures.

    But the most compelling evidence of all – 3 proofs that Jesus was a woman:
    1. He fed a crowd at a moments notice when there was virtually no food
    2. He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn’t get it
    3. And even when He was dead, He had to get up because there was still work to do

  7. K.L.B.  

    I like to remind myself (and others) of Jesus Christ’s humanity by sharing this: He was a male. Male babies are born with erections. It’s a sign from the get-go that everything’s in perfect working order.

    (It kind of reminds me of the punch line to a story in which curious American female tourists ask a Scotsman attired in the traditional kilt while tending sheep upon a hill, “Pardon me sir,” she asked, curious about undergarments. “Is anything worn under there?”

    “Nay, lassie,” he replied. “Everything’s in perfect working order!”)

    Teen-aged males have nocturnal seminal emissions, otherwise known as “wet dreams.” Healthy males (at all ages) have erections during sleep.

    Now, was Jesus all man? If so, He had to have had every one of those physiological experiences (including pooping in His ‘holy’ diapers. Gives an entirely new meaning in context to the utterance “Holy Shit,” now, doesn’t it?) I trust He did experience EVERYTHING I do, and will. Or else, He could not have been, nor could continue to be the perfect sacrifice and atonement for my sins. (Not that erections are sinful. It’s what we do with them, our mindset, if you will, that determines whether or not our actions are pleasing in His sight.)

    However, where we get things mixed up is that we have unmet needs that He did not have.

    He was like us in all ways, yet unlike us as well. Like the fictitious characters actors Dan Akroyd and the late John Belushi played in ” The Blues Brothers,” He too, was “on a mission from God.”

    He knew His calling. So many of us don’t. We are born with a problem… sin. He was not. Though He was assailed by sin, He conquered it and the grave. He knew his mission from early on, vis a vis His remark at age 12 to mother Mary and step-father Joseph that “wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

    I’ve heard it said that sin is a matter of our not trusting in God to supply our needs. Doubtless, Christ had to do the same – trust His Father to supply His needs. Yet how to account for a relationship that was already in effect (the fact of His sonship to God the Father) when he visited Earth? It gave dimension and depth to His experience.

    I marvel at the miraculous nature of it all, and am thankful that He is now my Father too!

    “Hello, Dad? I’ve got this problem, You see, and I was wondering…”

  8. Brian  

    If you search the internet, you will find that this quote apparently has no actual source. It is probably a fake, but please let me know if you can find where this is actually stated.

  9. Albert  

    This quote has been around the net for some time now. All uses of it have one thing in common: they never provide a source in Augustine’s writings. The reason for this is because it appears nowhere in his writings. Like some other quotes by famous people, this one is completely fabricated.