Lust, just like envy or gluttony, or pride or sloth, or any "sin" I plan to reconsider isn’t bad as long as no one disappears in the pursuit of their desire.
However, if you are a child at your third birthday party where there really is no polite way to refuse all the goodies Mommy puts in front of you, the image is of a lusty appetite for fun and frolic. No sin being committed here.
Nevertheless, from a grown-up perspective, the word itself, lust sounds too much like lost.
Risking whatever reputation I might ever hope to have, I admit to lusting for objects I imagined would increase my worth. Because I now know the difference between lusting for people once viewed as desired objects and being in genuine relationship, I will name no names and limit my lust-list to material objects, such as, the paperback edition of Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past” newly translated. I once desired a large flat screen TV, an espresso maker, I had to own a microwave, I was powerfully attracted by a digital camera, another digital camera, heavy breathing for a wireless modem, a laptop computer. Believe me, this is not the end of the list. However, none of these objects, the pursuit of which felt overpowering and compelling at the time ever generated the joy and meaning I now experience as I fiercely desire to be authentic, pursuing goals not produced by marketplace pressures to conform.
Conformity. Yuck. Several years ago, I watched conformity get a black eye on YouTube as Susan Boyle sang Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserable” on Britains Got Talent. I am one of millions of Internet surfers who saw Susan Boyle, at that time a frizzy-haired, frumpy 47-year old transform the snickers and sneers of the studio audience and the panel of judges to cheers and shouts of approval for the soaring beauty of her vocal performance.
Watching disbelief turn to wonderment stirred my soul. But it wasn’t only Susan Boyle’s beautiful voice, but how quickly the crowd and the judges recognized the error of jumping to judgment based on appearances and stopped sneering to begin cheering. Later, interviewed on CNN, Susan Boyle said, "I wouldn't want to change myself too much because that would really make things a bit false. I want to receive people as the real me, a real person."
Real people are beautiful when they fully commit to being truly who they are and take seriously, as we do in the Unitarian Universalist community, the first and seventh principles which articulate our conviction that all people have worth and dignity and that we are all part of the interconnected web of life. Speaking, sponsoring, gathering, attending events, standing behind tables, marching, going to jail, risking foolishness – it’s all a kind of witnessing for what matters, especially as we join forces with many communities to effect change. In San Francisco, Oakland, throughout the United States and the world, the Occupy Movement exemplifies lusting for justice and for change that will improve the lives of many more than currently count as the one percent.
For in the throes of such a lust, people trust their actions to spring from deep, though not always popular, personal truth. And thus wittingly and willingly, choose to lose themselves in what they must and most lust for: “tikkun olam” healing the world. So if lust we must, I can see no better use for lust than this.