Ripping up Halftime

We don’t need stripper poles at the halftime show!You want women to wear burkas!
The Super Bowl parade didn’t need to spray the crowd with beer!Let the champs have a little fun!
Refuse your handshakeRip up your speech

I did not watch the state of the union. But the next day the video was spliced, the missing hand shake followed by the ripping speech. My first thought, “We are governed by three year olds…” There are real problems in our country, but our leaders can’t sit down to talk. And this divisiveness extends to me and you.  Every topic, from politics to beer at the super bowl victory parade, leads to an argument (I probably started one with my “three year olds” comment, as each of you justified your political choice!).

The half-time show was a good example. My feed filled up with battling sides. Often with clever results: “Best way to fix wardrobe malfunctions is to do away with wardrobes!” or the counter argument with an image of JLo/Shakira next to NFL cheerleaders or prime time Dancing with the Stars.

I enjoyed the creative takes, but they were also divisive. Especially the comment sections. Everyone refusing to shake hands, ripping up the others’ ideas…

All the while there is a problem that no one seems to directly address: women are objectified by our culture.

I tend to agree with picture mashups — the halftime show was not anything out the of ordinary — and I am not sure how much it contributes to the problem (Though, in an NYTimes article, Jennifer Weiner explains how, at 50, she thought she was finally past body image issues. Now her body feels judged by JLo).

But there needs to be a serious conversation around porn. Not the dark edges or images of children. But pop culture expectations.

Meg and I don’t normally pay for streaming services. It is a way to cost cut. But at Christmas we needed a few packages in a hurry, the price of prime was as cheap as shipping. So… we decided to check out prime video. I loved Tom Clancy novels as a kid and I have always wanted to be as cool as Jim from The Office. But we saw the rating and so I searched common sense media. Graphic Sex. (Jim, Why?!)

This sparked me to look at other shows. Then other service’s popular shows. Again and again I saw warnings about nudity. Sex scenes. I recalled reading about Game of Thrones, which I decided not to watch because of rape scenes.

Our culture claims this is no big deal. At the same we join the very much needed me too movement! Why would we assume there is no connection??

NPR reports and NYTimes writes that porn changes the the way teenage boys view girls and their expectation of sex. Girls minds are airbrushed into thinking they should look and act a certain way. Boys are empowered to visualize their lust.  But porn is not just changing teenager perspectives. My experience is that the images do not go away. They stick in our minds and subconscious. It is why Jesus cries out against lust, it affects our perceptions.  So I have become legalistic to avoid the images. I never want my mind clouded — as though I could think to control women.  I was raised to respect women. I learned to view women as equals — created and called by God to do amazing things.

To the church, it is time to be the adults. We point the way to salvation. Please stop worrying about halftime shows. The back and forth comments never bring healing (plus, if minds were not clouded, pole dances would be simply athletic Cirque du Soleil). Instead, let us remove the filth from before our eyes. Guard what you watch. It does not matter that you put the kids to bed. It does not matter that everyone else is watching. Be faithful to our calling.

Then demonstrate love and honor for your neighbor. Show each woman – show each person – they are valued endlessly by God… no matter how they look at 50.

(I suspect many reactions will be “Sean turned into a prude…” and did just turn 40! As many of birthday cards announced, I am over the hill and now the the age to be a cranky and talk about days past. But I don’t desire to return to the days of youth — they  may have been different, but were also a mess! No my hope is not looking backward. Instead I look forward to a time when no one is seen as an object. Instead all share the in the great love of Jesus.)

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