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What's the Hidden Message?

I scan NPR for news updates each morning. Within the past two weeks, two articles caught my eye – not as much for what they said, but for what they implied.

The first article was “What We (Don't) Talk About When We Talk About Porn.” The article interviewed a porn director, students who watched porn, a professor who teaches about porn, and porn performers. The major thought expressed was. “Pornography is not sex education, and it should never be looked at that way.”

The second article was “How To Talk About Sex (And Consent): 4 Lessons From The Kink Community.” The author explains the approach and purpose of the article: “It has been on my mind a lot recently, how I, like so many people, have been socialized not to talk about sex because it's uncomfortable or awkward or it might kill the mood. I thought about how that hesitancy to speak can muddy the waters of consent, and I wanted to explore that idea with people who talk about sex a lot: the kink community, or kinksters, as they're known.”

Now, the surface message of the first article was “Porn isn’t sex education.” The surface message of the second article was “Consent in sex is vitally important.” Both are apparently “good” messages.

But there is more going on in these articles. There is a hidden message in each article which we, as Christians, need to pay serious attention to.

In the first article, the hidden message is, “Porn is fine. It’s a valid industry. There’s nothing wrong with it. Here’s the proof: we’re going to interview all the same type of people we would for any article because porn is the same as any other industry. We’ll make no value judgments; we’ll treat it as ‘business as usual.’”

Then there’s the second article. The article states, “Merriam-Webster's definition of kink is ‘unconventional sexual taste or behavior’ and includes a wide variety of behaviors and preferences. That includes BDSM — a subset of kink — which stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism.” So, why is the author going to such extreme outliers of sexual practice to get tips about how to talk about sex? The hidden message is simple: “All kinds of sex, even kinky sex, are on a level playing field. Nothing’s wrong with kink, so let’s ask them for their advice on sex.”

It is articles like these that can desensitize us to sin if we are not paying attention. It makes sin “normal” and “ordinary.” The whispered message is, “Everything is acceptable. Nothing should be given a moral value judgment.”

Rather, we must be on the alert at every moment – every input to our eyes, ears, and minds should be assessed in the light of Scripture. So here’s the word for today, from 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”

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