Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Inaburra School Teen Health Conference: Our Pornified World

This Fri & Sat, I'm speaking at Inaburra Christian School's inaugural Teen Health Conference. The conference is looking at everything from alcohol to risk taking to sex to travel to bullying. Thurs night open to students, parents and teachers; Friday for students; Sat for parents & teachers. Dunno if it's full yet - I'm sure they'll welcome late registrations - try the rego page.

I'm presenting a session on the effects of our pornified world on today's youth.

Pornography is fantasy sex - it's visual, superficially physical, anti-relational, and commercial. It treats humans as merely pleasure-seeking organisms: as bodies throbbing in constant emotional and sensual climax, with no dangers, no limitations, and no consequences.

That is ridiculously out of step with reality. Real sex is wholistic, embodied, relational, and personal. It involves two people finding out about each other as people - with emotional needs, and bodily limitations. It involves communication, care, and compromise. It doesn't always "work" - it can be awkward & clumsy, the body parts may not operate properly, we may not enjoy it half as much as we think we should.

The problem is: the fantasy world affects us - and especially today's youth - more than reality does. They therefore grow up with attitudes to themselves, other people (including potential sexual partners), and the world, that are out of step with reality, therefore deeply unhealthy.

Our culture is pornified: the characteristics of porn - visual, superficially physical, anti-relational, commercial - are more and more becoming part of ordinary life. That means the whole culture we operate within is getting out of step with reality, and therefore deeply unhealthy. We live in a world gone mad.

All humans have a reciprocal relationship with culture: we are affected by the culture we operate within; we shape the culture we operate within. We are a victim, but not just a victim; we are a leader, but not only a leader. This is especially true of youth. They are heavily impacted by the environment we adults place them in; they will go on to shape the future world. What kind of heritage are we creating for our children and our children's children? What views will they have about sexuality, and their bodies, and their very selves?

None of this is unique to Christianity. But of course, the Bible explains both the problem, and the solution. We are not simply pulsating pleasure-sacs; we are relational beings. We're relational beings because we're made by a God who is relationship in himself - the Holy Trinity. God gave us our bodies as good gifts, to use them to advance our relationships. We are to give our bodies deeply for the other person - just like Jesus gave his body for us, on the cross.

Orright - the challenge for me is to reduce all of that to half-an-hour, clear language with no jargon, including statistics & visuals. Prayers please.


Kamal Weerakoon said...

And look what the Sydney Morning Herald's reporting on today:

Marcelina said...

I found your blog when I clicked "reformed theology". But anyways, you should probably mention just the total selfishness in pornography or other things related that are outside the confines of a marriage union. So, how do we work on our selfishness so that we avoid giving into our selfish desires that are outside of the will of God? Just maybe some things that you should mention....just my opinion.

Pascal Grosvenor said...

Hi Kamal,

Well done for addressing this difficult topic. Porn in one form or another seems to be almost everywhere these days.

Discussing it can be difficult and/ or awkward. Especially within Christian churches i think.

I will pray for you as you prepare your talks.

Kind regards

Kamal Weerakoon said...

Thanks for your encouragement everyone.

Gail Dines, an anti-porn author, wrote an opinion piece in yesterday's SMH: