You would have to be living under a rock to not have heard about the story (which we consider news) of Kim Kardashian posing naked for Paper magazine. Reports say that the cover photo has been viewed over 16 million times and Christians have taken to the internet to express their concern. I’ve read a few blog posts about how upset parents are about Kardashian’s recent photo. No longer can they protect their children from the internet.
This interests me because now parents are concerned with protecting their kids from images on the internet.
Kardashian is certainly not the first celebrity to pose nude for the cover of a magazine and she will certainly not be the last. Most technological innovations have been powered by pornography or have been used for the distribution of pornographic material. What Kardashian did is nothing new. And we shouldn’t consider what she has done as innovative. Far from it. She is simply following in the footsteps of several celebrities before her.
The humorous part is still how parents are now concerned. In an age where it is estimated that about 20% of students have sent or received a sext, people are concerned about Kim Kardashian’s butt. Or in an age where hook-up apps like Tindr allow for discreet and consensual sex, people are concerned about Kim Kardashian appearing full frontal.
I have a lot of thoughts about this. Personally, I wasn’t phased by what Kardashian did. Since culture is a reflection of its people, no one should have been surprised. Writing shaming articles to her reminding her of daughter won’t create change. I would think the church would’ve learned from previous mistakes that one cannot shame someone into change. Instead of trying to launch a campaign to protest the Kardashians (or would it be Wests?), here are some things we can reflect on as we see culture continue moving in this direction:
1.) Innocence cannot be protected.
As much as it saddens me to say this, it is highly unlikely that the younger generations will grow up without being exposed to porn. We could force the government to make a ban, but that will only last for so long. Morals cannot be made laws. And I think this is a good thing. If morals become laws, then are they morals? People will not change because of force. People are only changed through the Holy Spirit.
Innocence simply cannot be protected. Look at the Garden of Eden. Instead of trying to protect innocence, try to instill a good moral compass. These are commonly mistaken as the same thing. However, as we have seen from “good Christian children” heading off to college only to behave in “hedonism” and other atrocities that make parents shudder at night, we should see that protecting innocence and instilling good morals are not the same thing. Build up morals instead of building up walls.
2.) Don’t be surprised.
It always amazes me how surprised Christians are at people. Every time I look at Christ, I never see Him surprised. How would it look if Christ responded in the same way we respond? Let’s take a look at the woman caught in adultery:
Then the people brought forth a woman caught in the act of adultery. They told Christ what she had done. “Oh my goodness!” exclaimed Christ. “How dare you do these sort of things. Did you not think about your children? Your parents? Your friends? Your relatives? Do you know the irreparable damage that you have done? You don’t even have the common decency to clothe yourself in front of me? We won’t completely stone her, but we will protest everything her family does until she stops sleeping around.”
It’s quite a dramatically different response than what we read in John. Every time someone “misbehaves” by our standards, we tend to respond in shock. Jesus was never shocked and that left a mark on people. They could be close with Him because He was never shocked. Perhaps part of the reason people are so alienated from Christians is that Christ-followers respond with the exact opposite reaction that Christ would have responded with.
3.) We are sexual.
Deb Hirsch spoke about this at a conference I was at and it all made sense. We are all sexual beings. But, like she said, sexuality is not confined to genitalia. Kardashian may have shown herself naked, but that was not the whole of her sexuality.
We have a tendency in the evangelical church to respond negatively to sex. But people will continue to express themselves sexually. As Christ-followers, we need to teach people that what we do with our genitalia is not the whole of our sexuality. Instead of saying, “STOP IT,” we need to be saying, “there is so much more than what you think.”
I think Kim Kardashian’s butt serves as a good reminder for Christians to reevaluate what we are saying about sexuality and innocence (that’s a sentence I never thought I would write). And instead of responding with our mouths wide open, we need to respond with our arms wide open.