We had to pass it every time we drove into Rutland. There was really no way around it, unless you wanted to drive miles out of the way. It was our town’s only (as far as I know) adult video store. I remember the day I drove by and they had several large poster board signs taped to the front announcing that the DVD’s were buy one get one half off. I thought of the men and women who might be tempted by such an offer. I wondered if any of my church folks ever wandered into that store. I hoped it would one day disappear.

And then one day it did. A few weeks ago, the poster board signs announced a going out of business sale. And then the big sign on top was taken down, racy underthings removed from the window displays, and the shop closed. For good, I hope.

And yet, I am not overly pleased the store has closed. Not because I think our community ought to have an adult bookstore. I am glad this particular access to pornography is no longer available. But thinking logically, I understand that this is a hollow “win” because the store likely closed because people are no longer willing to buy in a store what they can get online for free. A few years ago, the news announced that Playboy Magazine enterprises had suffered record losses. This, despite making forays into reality television and the fashion world. Many Christians celebrated. Not me. I knew Playboy was doing worse these days not because people have lost a taste for pornography but because Playboy’s offerings are seen as quaint, ineffective. People’s tastes have gotten coarser, awfuller. People won’t pay big money to see nude women when they can see explicit videos of sex acts on their computer for free.

So my hunch is that the local adult bookstore didn’t close because the community lost its interest in pornography, but because their interest has gotten worse and more demanding.

Of course we should be glad when any purveyor of smut shuts down or suffers a setback. But we should not delude ourselves. The culture of porn is financially rich and dangerously addictive. And it is not flesh and blood we must fight this war against but the powers of darkness, the forces of wickedness, the principalities and the prince of the power of the air. No amount of letter writing and picketing and photo-shaming or Internet blocking — which might shut down some providers — can do what the gospel can with the sinful human heart. The Spirit has the power to shut down the flesh. Let’s preach the gospel always and help people change. As long as there is demand, there will be supply. And while we can and should curtail supply, the real win is Christ’s cure of the demand.

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13 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Overjoyed Our Town’s Adult Bookstore Closed”

  1. Wesley says:

    Totally with you on this one bro. It is one of those victories that is bound to disappoint unless seen as you are suggesting. Yes, it’s good, but …
    Praying for that same transformation that makes the sinful heart cast aside these things it once clung so closely to. Marantha.
    God’s peace –

  2. Mark II says:

    Yes. Excellent.

    For one of my Psychology courses, I wrote an essay on SEIM (Sexually Explicit Internet Material), and Playboy was not accounted for in SEIM empirical studies, as it is too “softcore”. However, according to Bloomberg Business Week in an article “The New Republic of Porn”, in 2012 internet SEIM usage is at its highest that it has ever been. Global revenue for internet porn from 2007 to 2011 was $10 billion-$20 billion, with the U.S. having consumed half of that. Hence, Playboy and the local retailer is not enough anymore, which correlates with Jared’s conclusions.

  3. Bob says:

    Don’t see porn as sin unless you are married or looking at illegal stuff. I only look at amateur porn anyway, so I am not contributing to harming porn stars etc.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Bob, do you see lust as sin?

    2. Pat says:

      You’re not serious, right? I ask this with all sincerity.

    3. Jack Brooks says:

      The Christian standard on what is right or wrong starts with what Christ taught about it. What did he teach about sexual desire?

    4. Amelia says:

      Except your potential future wife, when you can’t quit using after marriage. (Speaking as someone preparing for marriage, knowing that my marriage will always bear wounds because my fiance struggles with pornography.)

      Also, the majority of women in (willingly) in pornography were sexually abused or assaulted as children/teens.

      Much “free” (read, amateur) porn comes at a high price, because it is filmed using trafficked women and children, who are literally slaves.

      And that touches nothing on what the Lord would say about sexuality and it’s design. Still think it is not a sin?

  4. Eric says:

    Bookstores are closing because of the Kindle.

    Remember CD Warehouse?

    The Blockbusters in my town are no more (HT to Netflix).

    These days everyone carries a potential pornographic movie theater in their pocket. Why risk walking into an adult “bookstore”?

    Glad when those things close, though.

  5. Jean-Christophe says:

    Dear Sir,
    thanks for this interesting perspective.
    As it happened just a day ago Le Point – a French online magazine – reported on the subject of pornography on the Web. I’m sure you’ll find the source article for this piece quite interesting :
    Yours in Christ,
    Jean-Christophe HENEL

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Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

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