People; The Objects

I was watching a short video podcast today from one of my most admired ministries, XXXChurch. I've greatly admired the team at XXXChurch for their willingness to go into tough places to bring a message of love to those who desperately need it or who have never actually felt real love, but the "love" that comes from porn and the porn industry. This particular podcast had a short clip of some of the XXXChurch crew members attempting to have a conversation with a few very loud, obnoxious Christians that stood across the road of the Exotica Miami Convention with banners held high portraying messages directed at the convention goers that featured words like "sin", "anger" and "hate". The XXXChurch volunteers attempted to help the banner people understand that the message they were passing along was not the message of Jesus, because in fact each person is valued and loved by God. There was quite at argument that ensued and if you'd like to see it you can click here (about 3min in)

Why do we as Jesus followers think that porn should not exist? There are multiple reasons but I believe the most important reason is this: porn only degrades people, especially women, it ultimately plays a part in removing humanity and replacing it with objectivity. I believe that part of fighting the good fight (1 Tim 1:18, 6:12 2 Tim 4:7) is to fight for humanity to exist or to be restored, not to degrade it.

What I don't think the banner people realize is they are a lot more like the porn producers, actors and consumers they were calling out than they are like those that choose to follow Jesus. I couldn't help but notice that the banner people looked at the people across the street as sinners, evil doers and whores, of which we could say about any of us, but they didn't see the people across the street for what they truly were...humans...damaged, broken, fallen, humans. As they were yelling and screaming I began to tear up a bit, only because if they were portraying the true God, they might as well have been yelling and screaming at me-for I have sinned, I am broken, I have done evil, I am damaged, I am fallen and if these are the labels I must carry around, the kind of labels that show up in a room 5 minutes before I do, I have no hope because now I am not a person who carries baggage, I am the baggage, and if this is true, there is no hope.

There is a quote from Shane Claiborne that I talk about frequently that I believe hits home in this situation, a conversation he had with a friend where his friend claimed that Jesus never spoke to a prostitute. Shane began to fire back with counter remarks until his friend stopped him and finished. His friend finished his thought: "Jesus never talked with a prostitute because He never saw a prostitute...He saw a person that He was madly in love with".

Ultimately; stories about banner people sadden me, but I fear this problem is much closer to home than we want to realize. Part of working inside a church is many conversations, philosophies, and creation of evangelism. Evangelism is a great thing, but all too often our language can turn to things like "we evangelized them" or "we need to grow through evangelism". It's not the words that end up being the problem, it's where the words come from. All too often we has pastors and church people can stop seeing actual people with issues, problems, joys and sorrows-but soon we begin to implement the same objectivity thinking as the banner people and porn producers, the kind of thinking where people are no longer humans, they are objects that make up our large events, purposes and even our egos.

I'm sad to say it, but I am guilty of this type of thinking. There have been times where I have given in to objectivity thinking. In my darkest times, my entire goal is to pack out the room with lots of kids and look like a hero to the church because "there are so many kids here!" When this type of thinking ensues, it doesn't matter where these kids come from or what they go home to, the only thing that matters is me because, I don't have to care for objects; right?

May all of us see humans that God is madly in love with. May we all see humans that we are madly in love with. May we realize that Jesus died for humanity, and not just the people, but the concept as well. May we be carriers and removers of others baggage. May we be part of the restoration and the gift of true, authentic, Humanity.