Though I am quite conservative theologically, I’m not usually one to be pegged as being, shall we say, a “goody goody.” I wholeheartedly believe in Christian liberty. I find great freedom in God’s law and I often find myself frustrated with those who tend towards legalism.
For example, I have a huge heart for the Great Commission Baptists (the Baptists soon-to-be formerly known as Southern) but I think they have simply gone beyond Scripture in their position on alcohol. I understand wanting to be a teetotaler if you personally have a problem with alcohol or if you’ve had an alcoholic family member or even if you just think that it might be a stumbling block to others in your life’s witness for Jesus. But don’t try to tell me that it’s “the” biblical position or that Jesus simply drank lightly fermented grape juice. You’ve got to drink A LOT of lightly fermented grape juice to be called a “drunkard” (Matthew 11:19).
I remember, when I was graduating from seminary, I met with a representative from the North American Mission Board about the possibility of church planting through the SBC. As we sat down, the very first question this man asked me was: “Have you or your spouse had a drop of alcohol in the past six months?” The very first question. It wasn’t “Tell me about Jesus” or “What is the Gospel?!” It was about alcohol. I told him that that was the most asinine question I’d ever heard and that this probably wasn’t going to be a good fit for either of us. But I digress.
All of this to say, I’ve been noticing a trend lately in a lot of social media by Christians. It’s not just Christians who are doing it, but it’s the fact that so many Christians I know are doing it that has set me to thinking. Someone will post a picture, say of a gourmet meal or something really crafty and creative and use the hashtag “#foodporn” or “#craftporn”.
Now, I understand that these items aren’t actually pornography. But it still bothers me. I mean, what’s the point of calling it “porn” if we’re not drawing on the connotations of pornography: inciting lusts and typically playing on our base(r) desires, the endless pursuit of self-gratification and the cheapening of the object of our desires. I keep waiting for someone to post a really powerful quote about the Gospel and use the hashtag “#gospelporn.”
As Christians, we have a different lens through which we understand life’s pleasures. I love good food. And I appreciate craftiness and creativity. But there is nothing good about pornography. When confronted with something beautiful, shouldn’t we elevate it rather than denigrate it? Shouldn’t it cause us to praise the Giver rather than stir up our own lustful desires? Shouldn’t we be more thoughtful about the words we use and what they communicate?