Porn, Jesus, and Your Teenage Daughter

The statistics on pornography are breathtaking. The average age of first exposure to hardcore porn is 11. 90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed pornography, most while doing homework. Spend some time looking at statitics here. If it doesn’t boggle your mind and make you sick to the stomach, it should. The trend of porn is multiplying at such a fast rate that there is a complete loss of sexual identity in this nation. What’s worse is that the new “heartthrob” for tens of thousands of teenage girls is. . .wait for it. . . 25 year old porn star James Deen, who is featured in over 4,000 pornographic movies. Why the attraction to him from young teens? It is because he is not the stereotypical male porn star. The blue-eyed, preppy, clean shaven guy is described as someone you would expect to bump into at the coffee shop. You can watch the special ABC did this month on him here.

The worst thing Christians can do is ignore the immorality problem that is plaguing this nation. Many Christians want to live blissfully in ignorance. The brutal question I ask is, “How’s that working out for you?” Check out James Deen’s statistics on Twitter: James Deen Twitter Trends. His statistics are, sadly, what all statistics in pornography are trending toward–exponential growth. The porn business is constantly glamorized yet 89% of women in the sex industry who were asked said that they wanted to escape but felt that they had no other means for survival.1. Our culture is nurturing, grooming, and normalizing sexual deviants in almost every area of life and many churches are helping accelerate the growth by remaining passive or by viewing pornography themselves.

Teenage girls are being duped into believing that premarital (or even extramarital) sex en masse is normal. There is safety in numbers. Everyone is doing it, etc. There is increasing pressure for teen girls to shed more clothes and expose more of themselves to their friends on social networks. Meanwhile, self worth has gone out the window for millions of teenagers who find out too late that, contrary to popular belief, illicit sex is not fulfilling and, in fact, it is leading to more depression, teen pregnancies, std’s, abortions, an influx of people entering the sex industry, and single parents than ever before in our nation’s history. In short, the normalization of deviant sex is leaving a train wreck of brokenness and broken families. Media has added another nail in the coffin by producing what is known as “America’s most controversial show,” TLC’s Virgin Diaries. This show, in my opinion, was clearly a show designed to demonstrate how awkward and “stupid” people really are who wait until marriage to have sex, futher deteriorating the true value of the biblical view of sex which is reserved for marriage (at least the myriad of parodies based on the show proves that this is the common perception).

So what does Jesus think of all of this? We Christians often make the mistake of thinking that the 1st century Christians had to face few of the problems that plague us today. This is not at all true. In fact, the Greco-Roman pagan culture often exhalted illicit sex. Greco-Roman culture was all around Jesus. He did not minister in a religious vacuum to only the pious people. He did not retreat from sinful people. In fact, Jesus is clear that it was the sinful people whom he came to heal (Matthew 9:12-13). Jesus ministered to the oppressed, the depressed, and the most vile sinners, a scandal to the Jewish religious community. This is evidenced by the Pharisees asking Jesus’ disciples, “Why is it that your Rabbi eats with tax collectors and sinners?”

Many Greeks in Jesus’ time had women entertainers come to their homes. When the wife was away, the husband would play. The women would often dance, educate, or have sex with the men while their wives were away. Cult temple prostitution was certainly no secret either (nor were the plethora of sexual sins the Christians in Corinth were entangled in at the time Paul wrote 1 Corinthians). I am still blown away by the “pep talk” Jesus gave his 72 disciples before sending them out into the streets to preach, minus extra clothes, food, or money. He says, “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). This is not exactly the most encouraging statement Jesus ever made. Jesus was sending his followers into a broken world of sin where it was about to get brutal. Real brutal. He does not hide this fact and he does not shelter his disciples from “those people.” Instead, he wants them to actively enter into a lost and broken world in order to restore them back to God. This is the Gospel message! He didn’t tell his followers to slam the sex addicts and the adulterous people or any of the other “sinners.” He told them to rescue them!

Jesus’ whole life was about taking the worst of sinners and restoring them back to God. This was scandalous to the religious folk. In fact, when Jesus was eating at a religious Pharisee’s house, a “sinful” woman of the town burst into Simon’s home and began washing Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair (letting the hair down was a very disgraceful thing for a woman to do in public). She also kissed his feet and poured very expensive perfume on Jesus. Can you imagine how awkward this was to have a “nasty” uninvited woman do this to your honored guest in your own home? Simon was not amused at the town whore. To be fair, we don’t know what she did exactly, but Jesus says her “many sins” have been forgiven. Simon’s perception of this woman was, unfortunately, what the typical Christian response is to “worldly people”: “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39).

I want to warn all Christians that when this is our stance toward people who are entangled in sin, we reaffirm what they already believe about themselves, that is, that they are worthless in God’s eyes. We will never win people to Christ, we will never restore brokenness, we will never heal fragmented families, and we will never recieve God’s mercy if we fail to extend mercy and love to others.

So how do you treat your teenage daughter whose heartthrob is James Deen? How do you treat your teenager who got pregnant? The answer is simple: the way Jesus treats them. You see, they are his daughters too. Peter tells us that the Lord “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Paul tells the Galatian churches that “if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” (Gal. 6:1). It is not optional for Christians to treat repentant sinners well. It is the Gospel message.

I believe that when Jesus tells his disiples that they are lambs being sent out among the wolves, he is allowing them to experience the brokenness that others feel. No amount of pew time at church or hours logged in a classroom at seminary can teach us how to extend mercy to others. This is why the Parisees couldn’t get why Jesus would associate with the people he did. They had studied mercy in the Law of Moses but had never associated with anyone outside their own synagogues. Mercy is something that must come by way of experience–putting our faith into practice.

5 thoughts on “Porn, Jesus, and Your Teenage Daughter”

  1. I don’t really watch much TV, but the series you mentioned seems crazy. My son, who is 14, was flipping through channels the other day and I was watching to see what he would pick as I was sitting there reading and I noticed a show called “16 and pregnant.” I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know if that show condones or condemns teenage pregnancy but I couldn’t believe a TV series was made on that subject. It was on MTV. Thanks for the post my brother.

    1. Chad, I’ve heard of that show but don’t get MTV. From what I hear it is purely entertainment value, which has become the new value we place on sexuality. It’s really unfortunate. I remember a special that the Today Show did not that long ago where one highschool in Memphis had 90 pregnant students at one time. I think the glamorization of sex, the sex industry, and the entertainment placed on teen births are all contributing factors.
      http://moms.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/01/19/5876622-one-high-school-90-pregnant-girls-whats-going-on

  2. Jimmy,
    There is so much wisdom in this article…I wish that everyone would read it! I’ve read it several times over and am still gleaning so much from your words. I especially appreciate the thoughts on “rescuing” those young girls who are caught up in this sex mess. Too often we are quick to criticize, give our own thoughts on how to save the world, and then we go about our own business having done nothing but issued our complaints for the day. You’ve reminded us through the words of Jesus what we are to do, and how we are to respond to sin. Thank you.

    This article becomes more powerful when we personally know others touched by this new trend and fast growing cycle of pornography among teens. And, if we as parents and adults take only a few minutes to allow ourselves to go here in our thinking, we will know far more than one young adult/teen whose life is being influenced.

    I guess the next big thing is: “What are we going to do?” With God’s help, we’ll begin the rescue mission!

    Love and thank you,
    Claire

    1. Christians, often, become the bouncers of the church rather than the first responders who rescue the sinners. Part of the problem we Christians face now is that society no longer views lewd sexual acts as “sin” anymore, making it easier (or more tempting) for Christians to judge the very people who need rescued. It’s quite a complex cycle and I fear the spiral is picking up momentum.

  3. I appreciate you words in this post and what you said in your sermon a few weeks ago. I continue to be amazed at the terrible, sickening messages that are being promoted to young women through the various sources of media today. If they give into the message and become involved in any of the immoral acts listed above, they’re called any number of derogatory names. If they reject the messages and strive to remain pure, they receive a different set of choice names. Sadly, it seems that modern society has created a no-win situation for women. I recently came across these words from a lecture by C.S. Lewis called “The Inner Ring”:
    “I wonder whether, in ages of promiscuity, many a virginity has not been lost less in obedience to Venus than in obedience to the lure of the caucus. For of course, when promiscuity is the fashion, the chaste are outsiders. They are ignorant of something that other people know. They are uninitiated. And as for lighter matters, the number of people who first smoked or first got drunk for a similar reason is probably very large.”
    I think what many of these young women are desperately seeking is love, acceptance, and a place where they can belong. And they’re seeking it in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. Unfortunately, this is probably because they’re not receiving the love they need from the sources they should be receiving it from: their families and the church. And because of this, they probably have no grasp of how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is for them. We need to become a church where you know that you’re loved, where you feel that you belong, where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came.

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