“There’s a lot of dirty theology out there, the counterpart to dirty politics and dirty business… call it spiritual pornography… It’s found in many of the same places as physical pornography (the internet and cable TV) and it promises similiar things: instant intimacy, fantasy and make-believe, private voyeurism and vicarious experience, communion with out commitment.” -Brian Mclaren
The quote above, taken from the book “Naked Spirituality” just about took my breath away. I think he’s caught a really profound and surprsing truth, one that we want to reject for all sorts of reasons that we shouldn’t be very proud of.
One of the things it forces us ‘spiritual/religious’ folk to do is draw a circle on the ground. Then it forces us to invite consumers of pornography inside this circle with us. This little pairing is not particularly comfortable for anyone involved. Perhaps that’s why we’re so unlikely to talk about it.
I think folks involved in any side of the sex trade are probabaly just as bound and determined to assert the lie as folks within the church. It’s so much safer for all of us if we just agree that we’re all different: You watch your cable T.V. shows. I’ll watch mine. You go to your web sites. I’ll go to mine. You do your thing. I’ll do mine.
Of course, we each believe the other to be wrong. I’m contemplating the fact that both groups savors a special glee when it converts someone from the other side. Is there anyone we evangelicals love more than a recovering pornography addict? Is there anyone more cerished in the pornography circles than someone who used to be a Christian, or better yet, a pastor?
I think there’s a really important thing to notice, though. Our evangelical glee is not about wanting to welcome someone into our midst who has not converted. I would submit this is equally true for both sides. Ponography shops don’t want someone wandering their aisles who isn’t one of them. We might welcome a person into our Sunday service if we new that they desired leaving behind their old life. If we met them right after the offering, and shook their hands, and they proudly said, “I think I’ll go home and watch a sex tape.” We would probably welcome them a lot less.
Perhaps I digress, a little. The Mclaren quote is so interesting to me not only because of the wierd paralells, but also because it implies that a person seeks out God and porn. for the same reason, they are both attempts to fufill the same drive.
This point isn’t brand new. But it’s much more nuanced than I’ve ever heard it before. The idea of dirty theology suggests that we’re not all well and good merely because we settle on chasing after God instead of chasing after sex. It’s not sufficient just to aim ourselves in the right direction; things can still go badly even if we don’t take more lustful approach to satisfying this desire.