First, let's get the porn dealt with because it's the truly shameful part of this article and not the potentially shameful part.
Online porn is worship plain and simple and I would argue most pastors get this concept because they know the sacrifices to this deity personally. Find a pastor that hasn't struggled at one point with the frankly unfair advantage Lust has these days with online porn. It's as common in their testimonies as the word "just" in most people's prayers. And the reason being, that Lust figured out it no longer needed to attach itself to temple prostitutes or even prostitutes in general to temp away the Christian man at large. Or in other words. It no longer needed human bodies to temp human bodies to sin with. It could keep everyone nice and separate and damn people by Christ's declaration that to look upon a woman lustfully was tantamount to adultery.
Online porn is the ubiquitous access that all sexual creatures' sinful desires wanted. Fully realized for one purpose and one purpose only. To take the tempted out of the game. It uses its consequence-free access to sexual temptation as a cultural diluting agent. A man who is spending his free time masturbating to porn and getting sexual satisfaction from himself is not pursuing or getting the same from a spouse. Husbands turn to porn when they are dissatisfied with wives. Boyfriends turn to it when they were taking too long to get engaged or unliking the price tag of what used to be a good deal. Porn is the church of our desires. Having doors that are never closed by big government or social media. And is all but enabled by big tech. The big pharma is there too but only for anecdotal pills and supplements for anecdotal enhancements a porn user is likely never to need when we get to brass tacks.
Porns success is that it has no immediate consequence for use. A man using a prostitute has an immediate series of consequences to contend with. Did anyone see him? Did he catch any venereal diseases from the prostitute? Did his wife know where he was? Did his girlfriend follow him there? Sex in real life has consequences, illicit sex even more so. So Lust moved online for its worship because then the consequences can be obfuscated, even intentionally made temporal. An incognito browser makes the session of self-satisfaction something that ceases to exist the second you close the window. You can't undo what was done to another human being. But porn would have you be able to not even undo your last explicit browsing session.
Online porn wants you to visit often but doesn't require you to be caught there.
It will take your money but gives most of itself away for free.
It has options for every appetite you might have.
It has music to put you in the mood.
It has pictures, movies, and steamy stories to engage the viewer deeply.
It has a local mission or at the very people in your area that want to chat.
It can be live-streamed, but the most popular content is almost always something that has happened in the past. In fact, multiple pieces of content are often ripped from longer pieces so one piece of porn becomes many smaller more consumable pieces of porn.
It isn't locked down to one location but rather accessible from multiple places.
Its sole intent is to attach you to it in as many ways as possible. To get you plugged into a regiment of use and tastes. Though to be fair they use the words kink and session interchangeably there.
Online Church's sole purpose is to get you engaged in a small group and community though, to be honest, we call them midsized communities. We want to grow together.
Right now we're locked down so gathering together isn't possible but we're not just a location, we can gather exclusively online and have live streams on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and on our webpage.
Speaking of live streams, you can catch the best parts on our social media accounts where we capture the essence of our teaching and worship and make them bite-sized for our congregation so they can catch up throughout the week on their preferred content platform.
We have people in every community of our city that will be live in the chat while the recording is re-broadcasted.
Make sure to check out our social media for our ministry's exclusive content.
Check out new music from our worship and art department, it's really moving and inspirational.
We have multiple ministries for you and your loved ones to get involved in.
If you're a member you can tithe by clicking on this link to support the mission, but tithing is only for members and our church services will always be free.
You don't have to come to one of our campuses to be involved with our church, We have a pastor for online ministries we want to help you connect with our church where you are.
How in Hell did this bit of consilience happen?
It happened from pastors and church boards understanding enough of the internet to use it, but not enough of the internet to understand it. To understand that what we proposed by online church at all, would be exactly how online sin works. And if that was a problem, what the solution to that problem was also.
Nowhere else could you use the means of sin as a means for salvation. No one is stripping for Jesus or offering massages for the Holy Ghost. There are no thieves for Jesus and no murderers for Jesus. While the internet is filled with a host of good and righteous things. None of those things are using the strategies of sin to literally do church. I've written elsewhere about the Insufficiency of Online church so I won't repeat myself, but the similarities are too close to not mention it. At the very least say it out loud. On a real browser so my actions are permanent on the internet.
If a church is okay using the strategy of online porn for ministry, why not use the sites themselves. many major porn sites offer a place for amateurs to host their own videos. With little to no oversite except for an easy to bypass age check. Are you at a church that wants to reach your city for Christ? have you considered posting your sermons and worship services on Pornhub? Because your congregation's members, statistically and regularly visit there, or else you wouldn't have at least a noticeable segment of your men's and recovery ministries. If that last line made you cringe a bit, good. it means you have a working conscience and that's a good thing.
Churches are using the internet wrong as evidenced by their strategy and lack of theology behind their use of the thing. Yes, thing. The internet is not a place it is an infrastructure of things. A place is an infrastructure as well, but it facilitates people to be together without the infrastructure mediating the connection or togetherness. A pavilion is an infrastructure that facilitates connection as well because people can gather inside it. But a traffic jamb, while more complex and with more potential to move, is still infrastructure that is very much a bunch of people in the same situation but not together.
We get out of the convoluted and dangerously converging problem of the church's use of the internet by using it correctly.
The Internet allows for the cross proliferation of ideas. For things to go viral. But only if those things can and are posted everywhere people look for things posted. So instead of posting things in a few places, internet ministries should be focusing on a wider net. A church website that hosts streams and one or two options for live streams only works for the church's uses, because it assumes that church can be done online. Which it can't. See my article here. But the message of the church spread to every location it could be, drawing people from where they habituate online to local churches in their area because they correlate to a real-life congregation or place. It is the reversal of Porn's online lie. None of the bodies you see while viewing porn want to or will ever be yours to have sex with, which is why Lust wins so easily. Because all it has to do is get you to watch. But a church posting everywhere not with the intent of keeping people behind their screens but in gathering them together for communion and fellowship reverses that tactic while still existing in that economy of views and trending topics.
Imagine a new type of Decon, whose only job in service to the church is to upload videos to a specific platform as soon as they are ready.
A deacon of Facebook
A deacon of Instagram
A deacon of Rumble, Reddit, Parler, Gab, Twitter, Pinterest, Twitch, TikTok, any place where videos or frankly any content could be posted.
Imagine every church doing this for every sermon preached and worship song sung, an overflowing digital cup of God's love and desire for all peoples to come to the cross. A viral movement that shakes the gates of hell or at the very least, stresses the servers of its works on earth.
The question isn't if the church needs a theology of the internet.
The question is would it practice one if it had it.
Ephesians 5:11 ESV
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.