Like most guys my age my first exposure to pictures of scantily clad women was through magazines like FHM and Loaded. Without a doubt these magazines are what started me off down the road of porn.
They gave me a taste and I wanted more so I went looking and I found it. There are other more important reasons why of course, including issues with not having a Father after I turned 11 and low self esteem. Magazines like these gave me an outlay sure but I can’t put the blame entirely at their feet.
The news on Monday that the owner’s of Loaded had gone into administration will probably be greeted with relief and victory by some. Not me.
For several reasons. One being that just because a magazine has found it’s sales decrease doesn’t mean that demand has decreased. It just means that pictures can be accessed right now on your phone not later by going into a shop.
But the celebration of the demise of the porn industry is not one I believe we should take part in. And why not? When porn is clearly wrecking the lives of millions of men, women and families all over the world shouldn’t we be happy?
I believe in the dangers of porn. They are real. I know that better than most. That’s not me boasting; I would much rather that was not the case. I want to have kids and I want to protect them from porn.
But there is a difference in seeing the porn industry as a faceless machine that needs to be dealt with and seeing the porn industry that is full of people who are hurting.
There are certain things that damage the image of Christians and therefore in God and one of the biggest is the connection with the things we are against rather than what we are for.
We’re against gays, we’re against marriage for everyone, we’re against the environment but less likely to be associated with Christians are things like being for love for everyone, hope and peace and freedom.
We can talk all day about the porn industry and the damage it causes but until we stop to look at the plank in our own eye then we won’t be able to have a positive effect on the world.
Stats from a few years ago suggest that 50% of Pastors have looked at porn (this is likely to be higher today with the easier accessibility smart phone etc. provide). This is scary. It should cause us to sit up and want to take action
So the right approach is to talk openly about porn in church. To offer those including Pastors who struggle with porn, access to resources and help. To show Grace, love and to remove a crippling stigma that exists. The only way to make this possible is to stop being scared of porn.
And to talk about it.
Even if it offends.
Maybe the person that starts that is you.
When we’re afraid we tend to lash out. I believe this is what the Church is good at. We’re afraid of tackling sin that remains buried and is seen as worse than other sins and so we decide to attack the industry that provides porn. The point is not that we make sure we never mess up again; that nobody ever engages in sexual sin. The point is that when we do we show each other Grace, Love and Hope. Imagine the hope we could bring to the Porn Industry if we got better at that with each other. Jesus knew the life and freedom that could result from this type of attitude with the Porn Industry. That is why He spent so much time with the people during His time that were viewed the same as Porn Stars today. That is why He told us to love our enemies. Despite the cost.
The biggest day for online porn consumption is a Sunday. I’m not sure if most Christians who look at porn do it before or after Church, but they do.
The irony of it is that if we want to put a dent in an industry that we view as evil and damaging the best way for us as Christians to do so is to stop consuming it. To stop looking.
There is a group of people who need to know there is a better way. Who need to learn what love means and who need to receive forgiveness from the people they have hurt. They have a purpose in life they often miss because of sin, bad choices and the damage that results.
And I’m not talking about the Porn Industry.