Two Sad Legacies Buried Together

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“Spending eternity next to Marilyn Monroe is an opportunity too sweet to pass up,” Hef once quipped. And while this quote was probably spoken somewhat in jest, it gives many clues into his twisted, self-centered worldview. A worldview that believes women are placed on this earth to be objectified, exploited, and used to further the satisfaction and reputation of ungodly men.

No Glamour in Death

As news broke over the recent death of Hugh Hefner, there is one little known fact about his life that was made widely known rather quickly. According to numerous sources, the Playboy mogul purchased his own gravesite directly next to Marilyn Monroe in 1992 for the price of $75,000. Their remains will be interred side by side in Los Angeles at the Westwood Village Cemetery, the resting place of many historically famous names. One thing this tells us is that, even in thinking of his impending future death, Hugh Hefner could not break free of his idol. The idol to turn a woman’s outward sex appeal into the be-all and end-all of existence………..his existence. Even in death, he wanted her sex appeal to be linked with his legacy in some lasting way. A way which he believed would give his life ultimate meaning, even when he wasn’t alive to enjoy it any longer. Yes, Hefner used Monroe’s lifetime sex appeal to further his post-mortem reputation. In the eyes of others, he could still be seen as “Hef…..the ultimate ladies man.” This was one of his driving motivations in buying the grave lot to begin with. By purchasing a grave next to hers, Hef was using her beauty for almost the same reason he made her the first cover girl and centerfold of his infamous Playboy magazine. That reason: attention, pleasure, and adoration………..for himself. Indeed, this is a very deep, disturbing level of depravity. 

A Faulty Worldview

Hefner believed these things with all his heart. That is why he wanted Marilyn “next” to him in death. He was pulling teeth to make sure his worldview (of exploiting women for his benefit) would “fit” his situation when he actually died. Because if not, his worldview collapses into nothingness. If your worldview doesn’t give meaning after you die, then get rid of your worldview. It is phony. And you are deceived. Ultimately, I am certain that Hugh Hefner believed in an afterlife, but one devoid of all meaning. At some level, the Bible recognizes that everyone is aware of this thing called ‘forever and ever.” It is made clear in the Book of Ecclesiastes when the preacher declares, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Idols Only Bring Destruction

There is something deeply evil- even satanic– about the opening quote at the beginning of this article. Notice that he used the word “eternity.” I believe that there is something more going on here than simply the ‘pleasant’ thought of being buried next to Marilyn Monroe. Hefner was so blinded by the enemy, and his own evil heart, that he was fooled into believing either one of two things. Either that he would be buried forever on this earth, next to Marilyn, in an unconscious state of being, with no end of the world ever coming. Or, as I suspect, he may have been saying that he believed that he and Marilyn would somehow, some way, spend eternity together…….consciously……sexually. And why wouldn’t he think this way? If you are dead in your sins, and you create an idol in your heart about how to live while you are on earth, then why would you not make an idol out of the afterlife too? Oh Mr. Hefner, what did you become?

A Deeply Troubled Beauty

There is a strange irony in all of this ‘being buried next to each other’ stuff. Both Hefner and Monroe were very lonely people. Lonely in very different ways, but lonely nonetheless. When most people think of Marilyn Monroe, they don’t imagine her, first and foremost, as a deeply troubled and unhappy woman. They remember her as smiley and carefree, standing over a subway grate in a beautiful white dress which was nearly blown over her head. They remember beach photos of her laughing and playing in the sand, again while wearing teeny, tiny outfits. And yes, they most certainly remember that magazine cover. In every instance, men ogled. Women were envious. These are the ways most of the rich and famous are remembered, especially if they died young and beautiful.

More Than Just Pretty

How sad that Marilyn was exploited instead of treasured. How sad that she was, for the most part, an object of lust and riches in the eyes of men. Yes, she made poor decisions. But where were the rescuers? Where were the real men? Why didn’t some young, chivalrous man run over and pull her dress back down to cover her fully-exposed legs? And did anyone ever warn Marilyn about having her naked self plastered all over a magazine circulated to millions of perverted men? Did anyone really care? Did anyone sacrifice for her? The men who saw her in Playboy and with her dress riding up did not care about her gasping, starving heart. They just wanted her body. For the most part, she will be remembered as a sexy blonde who appeared on the first cover of Playboy, made some decent movies, and ended up committing suicide. How sad it is to remember people without their struggles, emotional pain, and loneliness. Her face may have been really beautiful, but her life wasn’t. Folks, as beautiful as she was, there was more than meets the eye. Her face was the face of loneliness.

A Lonely Playboy?

But Hefner was lonely too. Yes guys, Hef was a lonely man. I imagine some men might read this and think I was smoking weed or something. No, completely sober I am (Yoda moment……sorry). But yes, he was lonely. His life was a series of jumping from one idol to another. Most of the things he desired were good things (or neutral things), in and of themselves. But as is the case with idolatry and the wicked heart, he took good things and made them ultimate things…….destroying many lives in the process. One of his many idols was money. Money which gave him more of a platform to exploit and use women. For it was his money which purchased his infamous “Playboy Mansion.” A place known for unspeakable debauchery and exploitation of women. And this same money also increased his desirability among the opposite sex, which ultimately didn’t help him in the least. You see how one idol fuels another idol. What a vicious cycle. Girls, sex, money, fame, reputation, mansions? What do all these things mean to him now? They all have one thing in common: they are things that cannot produce steadfast and eternal joy. And he knew it. No doubt about it. Hef was a lonely man.

A Modern Day Solomon

Hefner’s life sounds a lot like Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, doesn’t it? The former King of Israel experienced many of the same pleasures as Hugh Hefner did, and it never completely satisfied him either. Their lives were strikingly similar, at least in Solomon’s early years. But Solomon learned from his folly, and wrote about what he learned. He passed it on through the written Word of God. Readers, pay close attention. Here is the some of the gold Solomon passed down……..

I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:8-11)

The Same, But Opposite

On the other hand, Marilyn was craving genuine attention and affection from men, and she never found the satisfaction she was looking for. Sadly, she sought escape in turning to prescription drugs. But satisfaction didn’t come from pills either. Ultimately, the pills led to her demise. But the drugs were simply the evidence that she was a tortured and lonely soul. Hefner was lonely because he didn’t want that which was real (love, stability, family), and therefore never searched for it. Marilyn was lonely because she did want that which was real. She just never found it. She wanted real feelings, real joy………….real love. It wasn’t about the sex for her. Not primarily anyway. Forget about the bikinis and the dress flying over her head. She was looking for something more ultimate than sex. Things like genuine affection. Love. Good and natural desires for sure. But when we expect humans to ultimately and always fulfill those desires, they will disappoint us. And we become disillusioned. Again, what loneliness this is! How sad and desperate she must have been. The only One who can satisfy us with infinite love, joy, and satisfaction is Jesus Christ. His love is eternal. I hope Marilyn found this out before the pills became too much for her body to handle.

How These Things Should Affect Us

Christian, we ought to be so thankful everyday that we never have to be lonely. Yes. we may feel like we are sometimes. But God still says to us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Let us take comfort, and rejoice in that precious truth. And when we see others struggling mightily to replace their loneliness with idolatry, let us reach out to them with the precious gospel of Jesus Christ. I can only hope that someone did that for Hugh Hefner in his final days. I can only hope that God’s Holy Spirit gave Hugh Hefner and Marilyn Monroe a new heart before they died. And if that were the case, neither one would be searching for happiness in sex, money, fame, or emotional affirmation. None of that “striving after the wind” anymore. They would be where Christ is, wondering why they ever searched for ultimate joy in the temporary, finite things of the earth. God help us to minister to the hurting people of our day and age. God help us to point them to the hope of the gospel!

Conclusion of the Matter

After searching for ultimate fulfillment in just about everything except God Himself, Solomon wrote these famous words:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

And C.S. Lewis once said………

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

Being buried next to a sex symbol like Marilyn Monroe adds a final, disturbing notch to Hefner’s name and legacy (a very sad legacy). And not only that, it adds insult to injury for a woman who struggled deeply with the pain of loneliness. We Americans have defined “beautiful, successful life” in all the wrong ways.

I know that both Hugh and Marilyn are in another world right now. I just hope it is the world where God is pleased to look upon them as His children. I do not take any pleasure in the thought that either, or both, of them could be under God’s wrath for eternity. But if they died the same way they lived, searching for and clinging to idols that cannot satisfy, then hell is where they would be. Sad, terrifying thought.


Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)

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Save the Baby, But Please Throw the Idiom Out With the Bathwater!

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It is a ruthlessly annoying expression.  In fact, it is downright disturbing.  It conjures up horrifying images of sopping wet little babies being tossed into the air, and landing on hard, unforgiving surfaces.  If such an accident ever occurred (heaven forbid!), it would make even the most seasoned 911 dispatcher struggle to get through the call.  If such an accident ever really happened, we would all hold our breath and wonder if there were any fatalities. We would never be able to get it out of our mind, and for good reason.  It would be absolutely horrific.  The very thought, or mention, of something like this happening ought to make us shudder. We would never trivialize it.  Perish the thought! And we certainly would never use it as a common expression.  Worse yet is the fact that, when the expression is uttered, get this………..it is always done nonchalantly.  No one seems to second guess whether or not it is even appropriate to say it.  So what gives?

Evangelicals, The Guilty Party?

I would love to be able to say that this phrase has little to no reputation among Christians. I’d love to tell you that it is completely secular, and is mostly used by the liberal media.  I would love to say all of that.  But, of course, I would be wrong. “Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater” just so happens to be one of the most popular phrases among evangelicals.  At least, it sure seems that way.  You can hardly listen to a theological debate, or read the comments on a controversial Facebook post, without seeing someone refer to this expression.  It has gained steam, particularly in reformed circles, over the last several years. To be honest, I am uncertain about whether I have ever said it myself.  If I did, and you were the recipient, please allow me to take the rest of my life to repay you for the pain and suffering I have caused.  Just let me know which day of the week you’d like to have your car waxed, and your house cleaned.  It is the least I could do for being so carelessly insensitive. And if you have little babies, one day I will find a way to pay for their college education.

The Meaning?

According to this article from WiseGeek, “Throwing the baby out with the bath water” is an expression that implies that an entire idea, concept, practice or project doesn’t need to be rejected or discontinued if part of it is good. The baby, in this sense, represents the good part that can be preserved. The bath water, on the other hand, usually is dirty after the baby is washed and needs to be discarded, just like the parts of the concept that are bad or useless.”

The origin of the expression is highly debated, so I am not going to spill any ink on figuring out where it originated.  But most believe it traces back to a German origin in the 1500’s.  According to Wikipedia, Martin Luther was apparently a fan of the expression. (‘Baptismal Regeneration’ jokers need not apply.)  But I digress.

It really doesn’t matter to me how it began, when it began, or who is ultimately responsible for its origin.  I’m not interested in the origin of the expression; I’m interested in its demise.

How It All Happens

So how exactly does this unhelpful phrase enter into a conversation with evangelicals? Well, it goes something like this…….  An individual believes that someone went too far when they corrected a false teaching.  In other words, when they corrected one piece of bad theology, they got rid of some good theology as well!  In their zealousness, they may have meant well, but meaning well and doing well are two very different things.

Let me give an example here.  Let us suppose than an ‘evangelical’ said that God never, ever blesses people with wealth, and that it is a gross sin to be rich.  That we need to question our salvation if we make good money.  Ouch.  Not good.  In fact, it sounds like this person was so afraid of being associated with the “health and wealth” gospel, that he went completely in the opposite direction.  It happens.  We need to be aware of it when it does.  The prosperity preachers teach that having riches always indicates that God’s blessing is on you.  But this next individual, in his desire to correct, states that the possession of riches indicates that God’s curse is always on you.  Both are false.  Both are destructive.  I would even venture to say that the over correction itself is heresy.

Mr. Idiom User to the Rescue

Someone needs to do something about this doctrinal error.  Right?  I mean, we don’t want to people to think they’re going to hell just because they have a good job and are wealthy, right?  “Somebody, anybody, please say something!  Let’s balance this thing out and bring some clarity!”  And then……..you know it’s coming.  The warning signs start to sound.  It is as obvious as the sound of a foghorn blasting, warning ships of coming dangers. He starts to say things like, “Well, Benny Hinn is wrong to believe that he himself has the power to heal, but it is wrong to say that God never heals anyone today.”  He stresses the word ‘never’ for a reason.  He is leading into it, just waiting to get it out……….just waiting for the right moment.

And I, well, I am ready to cringe.  Because in just a short moment some well-meaning Christian is going to blurt it out.  He is going to say the words that make me (and others I’m sure) want to have someone dig their nails down a chalkboard, just so we don’t have to hear that infamous expression.   And here he comes, Mr. I’m Going to Bring Balance to Everyone’s Theology.  He is all too happy to step right on up to the discussion platform, and lend his two cents worth.  And then, without much thought or hesitation, he says it.  He’s probably said it before, and he’s most likely heard it from others many times as well.  He says, “Hey, I know that prosperity theology is false, and that Kenneth Copeland is a heretic, but let’s not…..” AAARRGGHHH!!!! “NO, NO, NO, Please…. NO, NO, Anything but THAT!!  I BEG YOU!!” is what I am thinking to myself, although I say absolutely nothing.  And he continues uninterrupted……..  “throw. the. baby. out. with. the. bathwater.” (gulp, headbang, deep breath) Honestly, there should be a law against it.  Brothers and sisters, how did we ever…………?  I can’t even……..

We Have Plenty of Other Choices

“Don’t Throw Away the Champagne with the Cork.”  It’s a very common and old expression.  But it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  I can’t imagine anyone having nightmares because of this one!  I mean, even if the champagne did accidentally get tossed, well……….ya know……….it’s champagne!  It’s not the end of the world. You can buy another bottle.  No one is annoyed or traumatized.  And best of all, there are no mental images of babies flying through the air waiting to crash onto a hardwood floor. There are others you can choose as well.  “Don’t let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch.” “Don’t give up on a great team because of a few bad players.” There’s no shortage.  You have plenty to pick from.  They’re a lot less violent too.

I often hear Christians get upset at people when they refer to a baby as “it”, instead of he or she.  And I agree with them.  We should make it a point to stress that a baby is a person with an assigned gender.  But here’s the thing. When we use that horrible idiom, we are likening the baby to a good piece of theology, right?  Well, isn’t referring to a baby as a piece of theology the same thing as calling them an “it”?  Draw it out to its logical conclusion, and that is where you end up.

Conclusion

A baby is a person created in the image of God; a person to be loved and cared for. A person to be well spoken of, even idiomatically.  He or she is not some good piece of theology that could be dangerously tossed out with some filthy bathwater.  I know it is just an expression, and no one means anything harmful by it.  I am not saying it is a sin to use it. But there is value in the words that we choose, and the manner in which we use them. The expression conjures up all sorts of bad things. It is not good for the imagination.  We should speak better of these precious little ones.

So, of course, save the baby.  But please throw that repulsive idiom out with the bathwater! In fact, as long as the idiom gets tossed, you can even save the bathwater if you want. Given the choice between the two, I’d rather bathe in that filthy gunk than have to hear that expression one more time!  Yes, I know that is gross, but I am trying to make a point. (-:

And if y’all actually listen to me and boycott this expression, and it finally sees its own demise, I plan on having a celebration.  And you’re all invited!

Someone will have to bring the champagne though.  Somehow my last bottle got tossed with the cork.

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