Ministry Pornography

Pornography is damaging to the soul for many reasons, one of them is the way in which it creates a false understanding of human sexual behavior and norms.  When people feed their sexual imagination with pornography they begin to think that the behaviors they see in the porn actors/actresses are the behaviors that they should engage in when they are having sex.

The problem is that porn stars aren't normal.  They aren't normal in many ways.

  1. Normal people don't have sex in front of a camera.
  2. Normal people's bodies don't look like that.
  3. Normal people don't enjoy those acts (indeed, most porn stars don't actually enjoy all of the things they are paid to do on camera, they do them because they get paid, not because they like it!)

What is more, the camera doesn't capture everything.

  1. It doesn't show you the toll pornography takes on the porn star's romantic life.
  2. It doesn't show you the toll pornography takes on the porn star's sobriety.
  3. It doesn't show you the toll pornography takes on the porn star's self worth.


There is a parallel to draw to ministry.  (Actually there is a parallel to draw to any vocation.  The real parallel here is about how comparing ourselves to unhealthy people actually causes us to become unhealthy ourselves.  Or, how comparing ourselves to people that are in radically different situations than us can often lead to confusion and pain.)

In the church we love to hold up examples of church success that are the ministry equivalent of porn.  Looking to the mega churches to teach us how to do ministry is like looking to the porn star to learn how to make love to your spouse.  You are probably going to hurt yourself, hurt your spouse, and likely offend them in the process.  The same is true in the church; we are likely to damage people, and damage ourselves.

Lets make this clear.  The average church in America has 70 members.  If my stats are correct, churches with over a 1000 members represent less than 1% of American churches.  But we keep putting on ministry conferences, and teaching ministry classes, where the leaders are mega-church pastors, and the learners are normal church pastors.  This means the people we are putting on a pedestal have almost no common ground with the people we are asking them to teach.  They are engaged in radically different tasks.

At least as different as a married couple and a porn scene.  ...maybe even more different!


The Gospels and the Whole Story

“The gospels, the epistles, and Revelation itself “work” only when you see them as detailed elaborations of the large, complex, but utterly coherent story we sketched earlier: the call of Human to be God’s image-bearer into creation, the call of Israel to be the rescuer of Human, and the vocation of Jesus to be the one who, completing Israel’s task, rescues Human so that, through redeemed humankind, the whole creation can be liberated from its corruption and death and the project of new creation decisively launched.”

Excerpt From: N. T. Wright. “After You Believe.” HarperCollins, 2010.