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  Jeffrey Vallance

    A Scatological Eschatology

 ‘HOLY SHIT!’ 

xii.
ANAL APOCALYPSE

Luther, like the early Christians, believed that the world would come to an end in his lifetime. He observed the apocalyptic signs: increased violence, wars, pestilence, famine, evil governments, the miscarriage of justice, and a general feeling of insecurity. The same signs that so worried medieval Europe also raised their ugly heads at the approach of the 2000 millennium. At a time of fundamentalist apocalyptic fervor, increased cult activity, and phony Y2K anxiety, what was the biggest damn controversy? SHIT: Protest groups branded Chris Ofili’s painting The Holy Virgin Mary (propped up with dried and varnished balls of elephant dung) as sick, blasphemous, and unsuitable for public display. In 1999, the painting was exhibited the Brooklyn Museum in New York as part of acontroversial group exhibition of young British artists.

Quite to the contrary, according to gnosticism, the Holy Virgin Mary was not concerned with the taint of dung; indeed, she gave one of Christ's soiled swaddling clothes to the Magi (the Three Wise Men—Gasper, Melchior, and Balthazar), who joyfully accepted the sacred relic and reverently worshipped it. The Magi felt greatly honored, and brought the holy relic back with them to Babylonia. At their temple, they placed the discolored Swaddling Clothes in fire, which was sacred to Zoroastrians. But the fire did not consume the Swaddling Clothes; instead, they miraculously turned snow white—a sign of a true holy relic. The Magi also believed that one should not piss facing the sun or moon or let any drops of urine fall on anyone's shadow, as it would bring about extreme bad fortune.

I believe Luther would have eagerly joined these heated scatological debates. For Luther, shit and the Apocalypse were analogous themes. So, the modern Lutheran church has lost something crucial and essential by expunging Luther's scatological eschatology and his peculiar vision of the demonic.

Luther birthed many world-shattering ideas in the privy. Like Luther and Elvis, I’m know for protracted dawdling in the lavatory. Far be it from me to hold a candle to Luther’s genius, yet I now feel a new understanding of his heavenly inspiration.



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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.

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