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  • Comparative Studies in Society and History, Volume 52, Issue 1
  • January 2010, pp. 131-156

I Want More of You: The Politics of Christian Eroticism in Postwar Guatemala

  • Kevin Lewis O'Neill (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 24 December 2009

The image appeared on the cover of a Sunday bulletin, produced and distributed by one of Guatemala City's most conservative neo-Pentecostal mega-churches. The picture presented the face of a young teenage girl, her eyes closed, lips wet, and skin kissed by a soft, transcendent light; the young woman's head was even tilted to the side in what Jacques Lacan would call jouissance (1998). Across her pink lips read Psalm 4:6: “In peace, I lay myself down.” This image, stitched together by the church's media relations department, makes a sly reference to Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture, St. Teresa in Ecstasy (1652). The statue in Rome presents one of Teresa of Ávila's (1515–1582) mystical experiences of God, which the sixteenth-century Spanish saint narrates with unblinkingly erotic imagery. In her autobiography, St. Teresa writes how “the great love of God” often left her “utterly consumed,” “penetrated to [her] entrails,” and made her “utter several moans” for both the “intense pain” and its “sweetness” (Peers 1927: 197). With St. Teresa in mind, my own reaction to the church bulletin parroted Jacques Lacan's response to Bernini's statue. “She's coming,” Lacan commented, “There's no doubt about it” (1998: 76).

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
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