A Church in Crisis: Pornography and Patriarchy by R. Kotz
(Link): A Church in Crisis: Pornography and Patriarchy by R. Kotz
by R. Kotz, August 9, 2016
Our character as human beings is determined by what we do when no one is watching. When no one is watching, many in the church are watching porn.
Pornography has been declared a “public health crisis” by political officials.
At least a third of US men self-identify as being addicted to it.1 In April, (Link): Time magazine featured a front-page article exposing the harmful impact of porn on society.
Despite this, two-thirds of practicing Christians feel no guilt about their porn use.2 What does this extreme level of consumption (and lack of guilt about it) say about the condition of the church as a whole?
…Porn delivers an endless assortment of cruelty, divided into categories based on the (mostly male) viewer’s fetish. Regardless of its diversity, porn has a common theme: women are objects.
…The other popular genre of porn eroticizes women’s agony and makes no attempt to conceal its fascination with female suffering.
Instead, the pornographer zooms in. Some sites even boast about their original content of “real sexual abuse scenes.” Just to illustrate, last week (7/24/16), I typed in “rape porn” on Google. There were 122,000,000 search results. That number increases daily.
…In the struggle to address pornography and other forms of men’s violence against women, the church is either missing the glaringly obvious cause, or intentionally ignoring it.
…Pornography and all forms of sexist violence will continue to prevail until the church purges itself of deeply patriarchal values and practices. In identifying the root cause (patriarchy), we also find the solution.
If the harm of patriarchy is acknowledged, the damage reconciled, and the system dismantled, the church can begin to heal. There is no other way.
…Whether in the church, the world, or the porn industry, women are constantly reminded of their supposed “place.” The messaging of objectification is more subtle in the church, and it’s often wrapped neatly in spiritual language. But women don’t need to be naked and videotaped to be objectified.
Youth group sermons on purity tell a woman the greatest gift she can give to her husband is her untainted sexuality—a gift she is told will be the pinnacle of her existence, second only to having children.
Her small group options include crafting or a Captivating study on using femininity to “entice” a husband. She is told she is beautiful, certainly, but she is told little else.
At the same time, she learns that her body is dangerous and will tempt men to sin.
She hears the pastor gush at the pulpit about how “hot” his wife is, but he doesn’t mention how brilliant, talented, strong, insightful, or passionate his spouse is.
A woman’s voice is often only validated in relation to, or in the presence of men.
She is encouraged to enthusiastically celebrate her supposed “equal dignity and value” won through Christ, yet is constantly excluded from using her gifts of leadership, pastoring, and preaching.
The examples could go on and on. She represents all of us who were/are subject to patriarchal/complementarian theology. The idea of “equality” between women and men in the church is illusory and empty when women hold no real power.
If women’s purpose in the church is to support the men who are doing the “important things” women aren’t allowed to do, all claims of equality are rendered meaningless.
Many women don’t feel like human beings in the body of Christ. Many feel like objects. …
…Both pornography and patriarchy tell us that men naturally dominate and women naturally submit. Pornography and patriarchy silence the voices of women.
Pornography and patriarchy extinguish women’s gifts.
Pornography and patriarchy exalt power, inequality, and control. And both pornography and patriarchy ultimately deny the humanity of both women and men.
From the start, God revealed a different narrative—the unshakeable dignity and equality of women in Genesis. It was sin that corrupted, sin that created patriarchy. …
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Read that entire editorial (Link): here