When I think of the word sacred, my mind tends to shoot directly to those of religious status. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, perhaps you would agree that those whom you see dressed in religious garb elicit a different response from you than that of your interactions with friends. I see a woman with her head covered or a man with a priest’s collar and I interact with them differently than I would with the average joe. Not in a discriminatory way, but such that I try to be respectful of their traditions, whatever they may be.
On the other hand, many religious organizations in Western culture have become much more casual in the last century, even in the last decade. When I was a little girl, I saw lots of people dressing up to go to church on Sundays. Now, churches encourage people to wear jeans and t-shirts, promoting a “come as you are” vibe.
Neither of these are necessarily bad. Because how one dresses is a very concrete idea, it seems convenient to draw on that example of how the idea of sacredness has changed in our culture. Of course one can receive and give and participate in sacred experiences regardless of what he or she is wearing. I am not trying to bash people based on their clothing choices.
What I am trying to say is that Western culture’s idea of sacredness has dramatically diminished. Men used to take off their hats in the presence of a woman. Women used to avoid revealing their knees in public. While I am glad dress codes have become much more relaxed, what does the word sacred even mean anymore?
I have thought about joining a nudist community because I love the human body, and I love my body. But at the same time, I believe the human body is sacred, so I hesitate to reveal my entire body to the general public.
I believe sex can be a sacred act in the sense that it is one of the most intimate expressions of love one can give another.
I believe health is sacred because it is as we are pursuing our own personal wellness that we can be the most giving and helpful to others.
I believe we can be sacred and sexy at the same time. I’m just not completely sure how yet.