Thursday, May 11, 2006

JESUS LOVES PORN STARS TAKE 2

Per the comments on my last post, day 4 of 14 day-blog-a-thon-daily-journal experiment will be devoted to adding thoughts to my short paragraph yesterday.

I don’t think that Jesus loves some people more than others. I think it’s amazing that with the way I behave, think, and feel sometimes that it’s amazing God loves me, let alone anyone else. And that's not trite cliche for me. I really believe that to the core of my being. I don't think some people deserve the grace of God more or less than others.

My comments on the JESUS LOVES PORN STARS however caused some confusion. Here’s an attempt to clear it up. Perhaps it will muddy it, but I hope not.

1. I don’t think JESUS LOVES PORN STARS vs. JESUS LOVES PORN is a subtle shift theologically. It is huge on a theological level. I do however think it is subtle graphically. Yes, it’s about where letters are placed on a page. That’s called marketing… which is all I was initially reacting to. My post was more about the “advertisement” of the truth and how it was put forth than anything else. It was and is merely a semantic issue. I searched the internet to try and add the picture of the bible cover to my post so other could see it, but I couldn’t find it. (By the way, word to the wise: typing "Jesus loves porn stars new testament" into google will land some unique hits to say the least. Keep the filter up and running) Anyway, it’s pictured in Time though they don’t show it online. It’s a Bible that looks very close in genre to the JESUS IS MY HOMEBOY t-shirt line. In fact, it looks so hip and fun and cool, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bible being carried by 50 Cent in a video soon. And, depending on what part of the bible your hand is over when you hand it to someone or how you hold it up for others to receive when you pass it out, what you’ll read is “Jesus loves porn” on the cover. I think that is subtle. It was solely a graphic or marketing observation, not a statement on how great the divide is between the two statements.

2. I’m not so sure it’s all that clear either. I doubt my students would understand if I wore a t-shirt on Sunday morning saying, “I love porn stars” that students would understand that I’m saying an unconditional love, not claiming that I approve of it and love seeing them. I'm sure some would jump to that conclusion, but some would be confused. I’m not sure that the fact that changing "I" for "Jesus" in the statement by default automatically says that he loves them unconditionally and does not endorse their behavior. Tons of people right now believe that the fictitious book, the Da Vinci Code, proves that Jesus had sex with Mary Magdelene and I’m guessing that after the movie, our Biblically illiterate society will be even further swayed. In that case, why wouldn’t he also be okay with porn- two consenting adults engaged in sexual expression? What about if they are married? Besides, he did spend time with prostitutes. I don’t think that in a world that isn’t sure what the Bible teaches about sexuality on numerous levels: including orientation, masturbation, consenting adults, abstinence, etc…. That this cover does much to clear up the confusion. But maybe it’s not supposed to, maybe it’s just supposed to cause debate and inspire curiosity… in which case I guess it worked and maybe then the end really does justify the means if the end is more people read the Bible.

3. I have no problem with the XXX Church. This seems to be in line with how they have formed their entire organization From the title of their non-profit to their documentary, “missionary positions” It’s all a play on words. And for what it’s worth, I believe in their mission and think we should have them come teach at our church if we ever get the chance to have them. I understand this Bible cover, and I think it’s even appropriate for the context it is designed to reach. I think the message of the gospel and the passion of God to be reunited with his creation on many levels should be taken to all walks, races, governments, faiths, and professions around the world- including, but not limited to, the porn industry. However, I still think this decision brings some other questions up too and has implications for others across the board.

4. It is politically correct, in my opinion, to say this fact today about sexuality. I don’t think it would be received with the same enthusiasm by the editors of Nav Press or the general public for that matter, if a group trying to reach white supremacists came and asked them to print, GOD LOVES THE KKK on the cover. I also don’t think we’d print, GOD LOVES TERRORISTS or GOD LOVES JIHADISTS for army chaplains yet. I don’t think we’d print GOD LOVES RAPISTS or GOD LOVES….. YOU FILL IN THE BLANK. They are all theologically correct, I just don’t think the publishing world is ready to market the Bible to every group of people in our world whose behavior is not endorsed by the Bible by putting their profession or hobby or whatever on the cover. Even though the text it wraps around clearly teaches that each of those groups are no less loved, valued, and created in his image than any other soul on the planet- no matter how “saintly” they may or may not be. This is the “can of worms” it opens in my opinion. It’s a marketing ploy that has implications… some of which is I think is political.

5 comments:

Max Critchfield 6:13 PM  

I'm feeling you. I've definitely felt unease over the whole scandal of whether or not you can write JESUS LOVES PORN STARS on the cover of a bible or not - as if the world wasn't already confused about why there are so many different bibles out there in the first place. I do think the grammar is iffy, and for all of the hoopla I just don't think it's a hill worth dying on, and in my book it's not a reflection on my understanding of the reality of GOD's unconditional love. I read this in The Irresistible Revolution today:

"There is something scandalous about grace. It's almost embarassing that GOD loves losers so much." (pg. 253)

That's a scandal worth talking about. Let the bible speak for itself - it doesn't need a fancy cover. Or a cover at all.

I love you - peace in your hood.

marko 6:23 PM  

yeah, baby -- c'mon, bring it!

just think -- if you had a "jesus loves brian berry" bible, and 50 cent had it in a video, and his hand was over the "brian" part, people might think he preferred berry-flavored items to non-berry-flavored items.

trevor Debenning 3:06 PM  

I have a "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" shirt that I wear with reluctant pride. I think the statement is true, both theologically and grammatically. We can all agree on that. The challenge seems to be with the social understanding and misuse of the word "love". Love has turned into a word that establishes our own acceptance and approval of something, rather than an uncontrollable force that has the capability to fulfill God's dream for the world. I think that "love" has been molested in modern christian culture. We've used the word to exclude particular people groups, and caused individuals to feel inferior. When Jesus said love your enemies, it must have been scandalous. When he implies that his love is for all and that he doesn't show favortism, it gets a rise out of us, because we want God to be on our side. The truth is...God loves. Period. Those that misunderstand who God loves, and what that menas, need to be challenged to rethink what "love" really is.

brian c. berry 10:21 PM  

Trevor. I agree. Love has been "molested" both by our society and Christ followers, and that's why the statement is not clear. I think we should take back the word and live it out as believers. I'm just not sure t-shirts and bumper stickers are the way to do it. But for what it's worth- I say go all out... I think you should get a shirt that says "I love terrorists" or maybe one that says "I love KKK members." You could wear it during your series on Martin Luther King. I guess that might truly be the modern equivalent of "love your enemies."

trevor Debenning 11:58 AM  

I wish I had thought of that idea earlier.

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