Bobos are very purpose-driven, and this is seen most clearly in the chapter on pleasure. This chapter begins with a description of the Arizona Power Exchange—an S&M group in Phoenix that offers newsletters, workshops, discussion groups, and personal growth and support groups for those who are involved in what is euphemistically called "the leather community." They provide an atmosphere where one can discuss and participate in such things in a caring, accepting atmosphere, with all dignity and respect. Forgive me if I am a bit naive here—as a pastor, the Marquis de Sade was not on any of my seminary reading lists, but I have always heard the Marquis de Sade spoken of as someone with, shall we say, more sinister intentions. Yet, here are his followers giving us sado-masochism and humiliation with respect and dignity. This isn't sinister, this is clinical. Brooks says:
In short, over the past few years the educated class has domesticated lust by enshrouding it in high-mindedness. The Bobos have taken sex, which for centuries has been thought to be arousing or sinful or possibly dangerous, and they have made it socially constructive.
He goes on:
They are meritocrats through and through. So they don't just enjoy orgasms, they achieve orgasm. Sex in this literature is like college; it's described as a continual regimen of self-improvement and self-expansion.
Then, on page 194:
Everything in the Bobo life is purposeful.
Bingo!! The Bobo life is the purpose-driven life. For the Bobo, the meritocrat, life is one long graduate school, you are constantly getting new degrees, increasing proficiency and achieving more and more success. For the Bobos, who came out of the pleasure-driven sixties, even sex and pleasure, the things they used to do to avoid or get distracted from school, have now become part of school. Brooks goes on to describe the way that even vacations and play are part of the program of self-improvement and self-enrichment. It used to be that play and vacations were a way of getting away school and work—now they are a part of it.
(Hey, here's my ticket to fame and fortune - I'll write a book called The Purpose Driven Sex-Life. It won't have to be a good book, the title itself will be enough to sell millions!)
As a pastor, this helped me to understand something of life in the church today. Today, the highest value in many churches is to be "Purpose Driven." I wonder how much of the purpose-driven stuff has unconsciously grown out of Bobo culture. In one sense, this shows the genius of guys like Rick Warren. Warren is so successful because he has tapped into one of Bobo-culture's greatest desires—to find purpose in all they do. This "purpose-driven gospel" is very persuasive in Bobo-land and is a great point of contact for the church with the world outside the church. Warren is correct when he says that God has a purpose for every individual life, and this is a very powerful point of connection.