Sunday 31 March 2024

Repentance In The Age Of OnlyFans

Over the last few weeks, a fair amount of hubbub has surfaced on Twitter (still not calling it X) about an OnlyFans model who has found Jesus.

You'll note I did not add any qualifiers to that "found". No apparently’s or evidently’s or other questioning of what might be the Holy Ghost's work in the young woman's life.

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 KJV

I believed Ye when he did this, and I believe Nala the Ninja too. This post is not about the legitimacy of confessions. That's the easy part. Reformed guys like me all know this. We contribute nothing to our salvation save the sin that made it necessary. And all Edwardian gusto. That doesn’t mean I don’t have reservation's and a fair idea of what she should be doing now that she’s found Jesus. It means I’ll leave her spiritual formation and discipleship up to her pastor and not Twitter, (Still not calling it X).

My issue, and what this blog post will cover, are the myriad of unique problems a technologically enabled adulterer or whore brings to the communion table, not the baptistry. Because they are problems of the communion table not the baptistry.

When a man sleeps with another mans wife, instead of his wife, a particular type of scenario forms. The man is separated from his wife by sin, and also separates the other mans wife from him by sin as well. And vice versa. The way this set of separations gets fixed is Jesus dying on a cross and some very tough conversations between the parties involved and a pastor or two. The wife must forgive the husband who cheated, the husband must forgive the husband who cheated, the wife must forgive the wife that cheated and the husband must forgive the wife that cheated. An intricate and delicate web of brokenness forms between the four souls, from even a single incident of sexual impropriety.

How big does that web get when there's more than one husband committing adultery with the wife in question. When a married woman allows, even encourages, hundreds of married men to sleep with her. Or since Jesus lowered the bar so much, to look at her lustfully. (Matthew 5:27) He lowered that bar but we’re the ones lowering the bar from married people to the vast swaths of singles in the church with a porn problem. What then?

In Christ's time, this meant a literal crowd gawking at a woman with less than manly intent for her body. Hence why Jesus asked for the sinless to step forward when he was present with this exact problem in John 8:1-11

What does this look like when the looking isn’t exactly direct, and the body isn’t exactly a body. And how far or closely do we stray from the Bible when we teach about what to do with porn addiction, now that we have porn actresses finding Jesus on the other end of their web cams.

For years, in response to the problem of porn, The church has instructed and taught that this is a sin the husband commits against the wife. And rightly so. He is sinning against here by looking at pictures and videos of naked people on the internet instead of being sexually fulfilled and devoted to his wife. But here’s the problem. Something we’ve been fine to avoid so long as we had a boy to whip when confronted with the friction between the online “world” and the real one. The Bible doesn't speak about any kind of visual media when it talks about lust. Instead, it talks about people. Jesus' clarification that to look upon a woman lustfully meant adultery in the heart, was talking about a real life woman. Not the image of one. And Nala the Ninja’s conversion is going to try to force that issue if everyone at her church reads their bible enough.

Because, while possible there is no practical or meaningful way Nala can be reconciled to all the girlfriends and fiancés and wives that she’s sinned against, and conversely no way all those boyfriends and fiancés and husbands could come clean either. Commentators on this verse make a fuss about the missing man adulterer in John 8:1-11. What on earth are we going to do with this cloud of witnesses. Nala has likely not actually slept with almost all of the people who used her pornographic content. But all of them, according to the church, have committed adultery with her by using said content. 

That is unless they haven’t. Because they’ve never actually seen her, just her content.

The problem with converting porn stars is that you gain a follower of Christ who can’t rightly be admitted to the communion table because of the lingering past self that remains on the internet. Because we treat the internet as a place those images and videos of the sinful woman are still sinning on her behalf as people. There's no reliable way to remove anything from the internet once posted. It’s too easy to repost and download and the type of image becomes too wide spread. If Nala is any kind of famous or well known, like she is, then even her conversion will drive searches for her past self which she has put to death to follow Jesus. Copies of her indiscriminate past will live along side her new life even as she grows in faith and closeness with the Lord. Hell, since I've typed her name in a few times now. how many of you have searched for her content. The Barna Group did the stats on this and it’s North of 50% for the pastorate, let alone the laity. Does a youth pastor staying up to date on Twitter, (still not calling it X) who peeks, make this woman an adulterer again, even with weeks of a porn free production schedule on her docket?

What we’re presented here is the concept of a created thing causing our sin for us. While small digital pictures and videos are still things. Consisting of electrons held between resistors to make up to code of the actual file of the image or video. These electrons have mass, not lots but enough to call them matter. Every time a digital camera is set upon a scene or a person wanting the product of of that camera, those electrons are organized to tell the rest of the computer what to show on the screen on demand. like tiny parts of a pervert Ikea cabinet. These are things we are talking about. Pornography is not objectifying people conceptually, they are objectifying themselves, literally. They make little versions of themselves for their audience to use and consume on their computers and we copy them on our computers, even temporarily while viewing these things online. Do the little versions of Nala still running truant across the internet have the ability to cause sin that Nala is responsible for, on her behalf, even while Nala is in a state of repentance?

A lot of churches would say yes, and I know why and I don’t blame them. Pastors are not the media savvy midwits they claim to be, on average. They know the Bible doesn’t speak on the topic of high speed internet porn and E-girls so they apply what the Bible does say about similar women and find a heuristic, broad enough to keep the wolves at bay with, if swung that is. The church has never had a problem with its understanding or teaching about lust.

But what if this isn’t just a lust problem? What if how we’ve been teaching about pornography is the right tool for a different job. A stick for the wolves that leads us to forego watering the sheep. What's happening here in principle is not men and women in throes of lust. which requires them to be in proximity to each other, biblically. It’s men in women in the motions of idolatry. Which requires that they fashion articles of worship out of physical materials.

What was it that Nala did as a pornstar?

Nala crafted idols of herself in digital likeness to give to her adoring devotee’s and her followers have dutifully sacrificed their time, money, and sensual energy, to pay tribute to their object of affection.

The sin of online pornography then, isn’t Lust, it’s Idolatry.

When that particular monster is slain, Nala can know redemption and sanctification, even with a host of digital versions of her sinful deeds colouring the past she left behind. Because they are no longer part of who she is. They are who she was. Copies of the idol of her own sexuality that was smashed when she declared Jesus as Lord. She can stop sinning like Jesus wants her to, and the lingering pornographic images that will taint the internet for decades after will be the sole problem of their idol worshiping users.

Nala will be free and free indeed the second she professes a faith in Christ, and no part of her sinful past will drag her back to an earthly death. Because she will be free. Her sins forgiven even covering the making of sexual idols still worshipped by the left handed masses of OnlyFans. She will not be held liable for those images because those using them are the ones creating them by copying the pictures and videos to proliferate their sin. They are still idol worshipers looking to plant their idols of sexual desire where ever they can. Building them out of new pixels and megabytes every time they enter her name in the search bar or look for her name in a list of her former peers.

When we come to terms with what the internet is actually doing instead of what it looks like it's doing we can start to see how the unique sins of the internet work. It is easy to look at pornography as an outcropping of lust and treat it as such. But if it’s more than that. If it’s different than that. Then what we do in regards to our personal righteousness, might be misplaced.

We are taught in the scriptures to flee and resist Lust in our lives.

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22 KJV

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 1 Peter 2:11 KJV

What are we taught in the scriptures concerning idols and what to do with them?

But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. Deuteronomy 7:5

But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves. Exodus 34:13

Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. Ezekiel 14:6

Nala has turned from her idol making. She hopefully, as far as it’s up to her control, smashed her copies of the idols she produced and is not walking in obedience towards a relationship with Jesus. And if Her pastor did not insist on this before admitting her to their baptism tank, he’s a fool. But if he did he’s likely wiser than most guys teaching bible studies on lust, without a grasp of how the internet works in the first place. Nala is forgiven and is tasked with sinning no more.

What’s left is for the rest of the internet to do the same.

This is only going to be more and more of a internet specific problem the church faces. As the throngs of young women using sites like OnlyFans to make a living, find their life choices empty and Jesus, ready and willing to forgive them. It will be up to the church thereafter to disciple these women in sanctified living, not apart from sins they have been forgiven for, but from sins that they have left at the cross. That can only happen if the church recognizes and teaches about what the internet is and isn’t. So long as we treat it as a place, we will inevitably treat the files and media in that place as people, so long as they look like people. When those people actually show up to our church doors, we will be confronted with the reality that there is a soul seeking communion with God and his church, that we might very well refuse because we didn’t know how online pornography worked, just that we liked it enough to use. 

Today, thankfully, we celebrate the actions of Jesus fixing all of this mess. May we join Him in that restoration and share in his life that was also in close proximity to women, exactly like Nala. 

Happy Easter Everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment