A visit to Faith and Theology is almost always rewarded with some of the best writing you’ll find in the ’sphere. Ben is spending some time in Berlin, and his reflection from the city today is a real treat. Here’s an excerpt:
There are some things that are corrupted by proficiency. The expert lover, the slick preacher, the professional childcare provider – these are not honest things, because good honest preaching and childrearing and lovemaking require some element of awkwardness and ineptitude and surprise, something tenderly human that resists the cold logic of technical mastery. Just so the cyclist: the fast expert sporty cyclist is an ungodly man, you can count on it. He speaks harshly to his children and spends hours grooming his fingernails and has always felt, deep down, that his father didn’t love him. He uses the bicycle the way an expert lover uses a woman, his mind absorbed by all the correct techniques for stimulating pleasure, working at her body as cooly and clinically as a pornographer. Such a lover goes nowhere with his beloved, just as the Exercise Cyclist goes nowhere on his bicycle but stays imprisoned in his own immaculate body even as he whizzes through the city looking straight ahead with a steely gaze through five-hundred-dollar wrap-around pink sunglasses.