Caution: Contains explicit material not suitable for all readers.
A couple of weeks ago, my phone gave off the telltale chime signaling that I’d received a text. I looked and found a photo of a topless Matthew McConaughey in his blockbuster role as Magic Mike. It was an invitation from a friend to see the movie the following night.
I want you to know where I met this friend and where I spend time with her most often—at church. In fact, a whole group of my church friends went to see the movie together.
In case you missed it, Magic Mike is a summer blockbuster about male strippers. It was the number two movie in the nation the weekend it opened, raking in almost $40 million from moviegoers in just a few days. I am sure many would argue that there are redeeming qualities to the movie, but at its essence it is a movie about sex, drugs, and male chests. Ladies everywhere are going gaga for it.
My goal isn’t to review Magic Mike or to point out that our culture has standards that don’t line up with God’s Word. That feels like barking up the wrong tree to me. But since Magic Mike isn’t the first blip on my radar for possible land mines in the battle for truth, I do want to sound an alarm. In movies, books, songs, and TV shows, something that was trickling into your hearts a few years ago is now being piped in at full throttle. Something that Christians would shun in a different age is now a movie they will all go see together. Something that has no place in the Christian mind is now something that many justify. Let’s just call it what it is—porn.
Porn (short for pornography) is simply the depiction of erotic behavior. Porn comes into view on the big and small screen whenever sex is portrayed between two people. It doesn’t have to include full nudity or full disclosure in order for our hearts and minds to be affected by the sexy stuff we’re seeing.
In fact, we don’t have to see it at all. Some of the top selling books right now portray sexual content using words. No pictures are needed to entice us to think about and be fascinated by sexual contact.
True, there are levels of porn. Because of that we tend to justify seeing or reading the not so graphic stuff by thinking it could be so much worse. But this kind of thinking is scary to me when I think about your hearts. And frankly it makes me really angry to know that you are living in a culture that desperately wants you to think that exposing yourself to sexual content, no matter how graphic, is no big deal.
I’m always leery to address pornography on this blog, because curiosity can lead some of you to wonder what the fuss is about. When that curiosity leads to one click or one purchase of a movie ticket or one afternoon spent reading a book with erotic content, many of you will find that you’ve fallen down a rabbit hole that is really difficult to climb out of.
I’m more interested in shooting off a warning flare. You need to know that porn is dangerous. (For more on specifically why porn matters, hop back on the blog next week.) And you need to be aware that good people are falling for the lie that porn is no big deal, especially when we digest it in the name of entertainment.
I’m also well aware that porn is everywhere. From billboards to commercials to fiction books, there’s plenty of erotic material out there to trip us up. I can’t protect your eyes from all of it, but I can lay the facts out in black and white. Here’s the bottom line: Watching, reading, or listening to sexual content is a hindrance to standing for God’s truth.
Psalm 101:3 gives us this bold standard to live by:
I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.
Just because it’s a blockbuster or a bestseller or not XXX rated does not make it good for you as you pursue God’s holiness. If it’s vile, run in the opposite direction.
We’re going to keep talking about this important topic, but in the meantime, I’d like to hear from you. How do you see porn trickling into the mainstream? What can we do to band together and turn our eyes elsewhere?