Thursday, August 02, 2012

For the pod: Everyone's reading porn

I want you to listen to this sermon and don't be put off by the title. Imagine it is just called 'Grace'. The section about 'trying' being an indicator of your lack of understanding of the gospel is truly brilliant and the observation of Edmund Clowny about the true nature of love in marriage at the end may well change your world. Listen to this and again I say listen. This then leads me into a few thoughts about 'mommy porn'.

Yesterday, I was standing in my kitchen listening to Magic FM (do I really now listen to Magic?) and the news told me a startling fact. Wait for it and I hope you are sitting down. Fifty shades of Grey has become the best selling book of all time and has now outsold Harry Potter. Didn't we all get rather hot under the collar at one point in the charismatic church about Potter being demonic and to be avoided at all costs? We haven't done this over the 'mommy porn' probably because we are all reading it- an awful lot of people apart from me that is ( I would tell you if I had it's just I've just been a bit busy what with one thing and another) Surely by now everyone has given the sales stats :)

Now, don't worry I am not going to write a load of moralistic tosh about how naughty everyone is. We are all naughty which is the whole point and precisely why we need a Saviour- (1 Tim 1:15) From what I remember about reading porn (haven't done it though for a while) it was always rather poorly written and the reviews tell me this book is no different. I confess though I have found even the reviews rather unhelpful to my sanctification let alone actually reading the content of the book. And anyway, what with church planting and moving house I haven't had a moment to sit down to get my head around the popularity of this new literary genre. It's not like porn is a new idea.

Why am I telling you this?

Well it all comes down to how we understand the gospel. Most people think a Christian is a good person who does good wholesome things and they then merit a whoopy-doo from God and he lets them into heaven. You, my dear good news grounded readers, know better than that and know that's utter religious nonsense and that you are a sinner destined for hell but for the saving grace of God who opened your eyes to see Jesus dying for your sin on the cross and absorbing the penalty and his wrath on your behalf (for more on this read The Cross of Christ or Death by Love) and this includes our proclivity for escapist titillating sadomasochistic romance idolatry. Seemingly a good chunk of people who will listen to a sermon on Sunday will be tucking up with a bit of porn that they have intentionally bought, probably on their kindle:), and may well have been reading on the tube on the way there.

Let's get one thing clear. You're not saved by reading or not reading porn- you're saved by grace. Please dear preacher, if you are one, don't preach a tutting sermon about all the people 'out there' who are reading this shocking book and what a reflection on the state of things it all is. Please, please, please don't preach that sermon. It's just not the gospel.

The truth is we read romance porn out of our very real misaligned longings and C S Lewis probably puts this better than anyone else in Mere Christianity:

'Most people if they have learned to look into their hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in the world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of a foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, [and no 'mommy porn', my addition], can really satisfy. I am not now speaking of what would ordinarily be called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. I am speaking of the best possible ones. There was something we have grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. The wife may be a good wife and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job: but something has evaded us.' 

And yes as you might expect me to say the answer is of course Jesus so put the book down and find instead ultimate and lasting satisfaction in his grace. Lewis is right, everything else is quickly fading away.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

Hi David, I tried to follow the link to listen to the sermon you suggested at the start of this post but the link didn't work. I had a little look in the Redeemer sermon store but couldn't find it. Would you be able to try and re-post the link? Many thanks, Hannah