[As you might imagine, trying to find a picture for a post on this topic is a risky business. Lacking the desire to be crude or offensive, I have decided to leave the picture spot blank.]
I took the SkyTrain down to MissionsFest on Saturday. About half way down the line, a young guy walked onto the train with a Playboy magazine, found a seat on the fairly packed train, and was content to “read” his literature for the duration of the journey. I looked around, and no one seemed to have noticed, much less seemed to care. Undoubtedly, some had noticed, but I am sure these individuals were attempting to hide their thoughts on the subject.
In some ways, I was quote shocked: certainly I had never seen someone viewing poronography in such a public place, and with apparent indifference from others. On the other hand, I was not shocked: I understand that such magazines are out there and that they are quite profitable. I couldn’t help but think, though, that it was not that long ago that someone would have it wrapped in brown paper and tucked away from sight while in public. What has happened since then that has made this pratice accepted by some and tolerated by the rest of us? Certianly I wasn’t about to say anything, and I doubt anyone else would have.
Now hear me: I do not want to come across as one of those stuffy old far-right evangelical types who sees North American society plunging into the toilet and harkens back to the good ol’ days when people were decent and respectable and Canada and the US were “Christian” nations. I don’t think people have ever been basically decent and respectable, and I do not believe that the New Testament envisions God being the property of any one nation or group of nations. The problems in the good ol’ days were simply different, and pornography still existed, it was just kept out of the public sphere, so people could pretend that it didn’t exist. What I mean to say here is simply this, at the risk of sounding obvious: there has been a major change in our views about what is sexually proper and what sexual items can legitimately be expressed in public life. Certainly more openness to addressing sexual issues, especially in churches so that people can hear God’s opinion on things, is a good thing, but there is a dark side. I don’t know if there is much more that I can say than that. I was shocked and miffed at the unquestioned presence of this explicit material, and in my mind, it is a sign of the times. I was incredulous and saddened.