On Monday, Nuts, the lads magazine announced that they were considering bringing their publication to a close and ceasing operations. I read a few tweets celebrating this fact and I’m going to admit it will be better for there to be one less magazine on display in shops which depicts women as just objects for men to masturbate over. Because let’s be honest nobody buys these magazines for the in-depth and insightful movie reviews.
But will it really make much of a difference?
Reports suggest a fall in circulation is responsible for the decision. But is this fall in sales due to a lack of interest in porn or because there are a lot less public, cheaper and easier ways to access porn?
The closure of Nuts will equate to nothing more than a drop of water removed from the ocean. This is one of the reasons why Christians should rethink the approach to porn from one emphasizing what we are against and more about what we are for.
When we put all our efforts into announcing what we are against we tend to take an approach that consists mostly of trying to shut things down and celebrating when they do. Sure if there was no porn for anyone to look at there would be no porn addicts. This is never going to happen though. There will always be porn. Even if no more porn is ever produced there is already at least 372 million porn sites out there (2004- probably a lot more now). The reduction in sales of Nuts doesn’t equate to a lack of demand but simply a shift in the mode of supply.
After all, why pay for what you can get for free?
It is increasingly difficult to stop people seeing porn. It is so easy to access it that anyone who has a decent enough phone can find it any time they like. Parents are finding it harder to protect their kids and consumers are finding it easier to find anything they want.
So on the face of it this can be a depressing thought and may feel like something that can’t be helped.
But there is an alternative that is both hopeful and much better.
Jesus approach to lust wasn’t one of simply removing the things that cause us to lust. Yeah he talked about removing your eyes but this was a way of emphasizing the seriousness effect lust has on a person rather than a direct common. Thank goodness.
Also, when He talked about adultery, which ultimately is a result of lust, he made it clear that even if you didn’t physically sleep with someone else, the very thought of it was as good as adultery. Or look at when He spoke to the woman at the well. Her problem with lust was not just that she had had many husbands but that there was something deeper going on that needed to be addressed.
The approach Jesus took wasn’t simply just one of removing the temptations that try and trip us up everyday but a holistic worldview in which He constantly tried to show people the life and freedom that was on offer instead.
He talked about what He was for rather than what He was against.
Prevention is important but it should never be the goal.
We can protest and celebrate when a magazine or company gets shut down all day but until we take the initiative and start having honest conversations in our churches around sexuality, we will simply find other avenues.
Of course people losing jobs should never be something we celebrate. Porn effects everyone. Children, teenagers, pastors, addicts, spouses, porn stars, porn directors, magazine editors. Each of these people has had their view of women, themselves and sex distorted from porn. We should leave the idea that it is a Christian battle against the porn industry behind and instead point all our efforts into showing everyone that they are worth more.
To start telling the porn addict and the porn star alike, that they are free from having to turn to porn, that they are loved, that they are accepted and that they were created for something better.
The Church has an amazing opportunity to be a part of that redemption story instead of being against it.
But we need to start talking about it with honesty and courage. Protesting is a lot easier than doing the hard work of changing perceptions and speaking into people’s lives. It also doesn’t produce God’s kingdom. It won’t bring freedom to the addict or the porn star.
If we want to see a real change in the sexualized culture we live in we need to start to talking with the industry that produces porn and show our love for them. Protesting just shuts down the conversation before it can even begin. If we dig deeper we might just see that they are receptive to our message.
If we want to see a real change in our pews we need to start tackling the elephant that is sitting among us. We need to stop making excuses and talk about porn in our churches. We need to offer those who need help places where they can share with others who also struggle and receive Love and Grace and freedom.
So let’s not celebrate the closure of Nuts but celebrate the life that freedom from porn brings.
Here are some amazing organizations that take this approach and are showing Love where it’s needed. Check them out and get involved.