“Pornography is rather like trying to find out about a Beethoven symphony by having somebody tell you about it and perhaps hum a few bars.” – Robertson Davies
I heard this quote some time ago, and it perplexed me. It challenged me. Maybe it was the fact that “Beethoven” and “symphony” are somewhat sophisticated words shared in close proximity with the word “pornography” in this statement. Yeah, that was probably it; one of those, “One of these things is not like the others,” moments, but nevertheless I kept coming back to Davies’ avowal, and to this day I’m just figuring out why.
But before I go on, I want to bring this quote “down to earth” for some of you, because I’m going to go ahead and assume that not everyone reading this is a big Beethoven fan. Go ahead and picture your favorite musical artist that you’ve yet to see live. Or sports fans, that one team you love but have yet to see play, you know, personally. You might watch all of the artists’ live DVD’s, or catch all of your team’s games on the television, but somewhere deep down you know that it’s just not the same as seeming them live and up close.
Now imagine if your best friend went to your favorite artist’s concert, or your favorite team’s game. You’d expect them to come back and tell you all about it. You’d hear marvelous stories. What went on that was like nothing else. You would hear about the cheers, the chants, and the tears of joy. You would be mesmerized to say the least, but I think we all know that it still wouldn’t be enough. You would still long to be there and experience it yourself. So my question is, why do we turn to pornography when we know it will never satisfy? When we know it’ll never be like the “symphony” of married sex?
That’s where this quote is so powerful. Pornography promises satisfaction. It promises to be a safe haven from rejection. And ultimately, it promises to be a glimpse of what real sex is. But for those of you who have experienced the entanglement of pornography, you know very well that it can never measure up to God’s holy design – a design that was intended as an overflow of love between bride and groom – something so beautifully evident in Song of Solomon 4:9:
“You’ve captured my heart, dear friend. You looked at me, and I fell in love. One look my way and I was hopelessly in love! How beautiful your love, dear, dear friend — far more pleasing than a fine, rare wine, your fragrance more exotic than select spices. The kisses of your lips are honey, my love, every syllable you speak a delicacy to savor. Your clothes smell like the wild outdoors, the ozone scent of high mountains. Dear lover and friend, you’re a secret garden, a private and pure fountain. Body and soul, you are paradise, a whole orchard of succulent fruits — Ripe apricots and peaches, oranges and pears; Nut trees and cinnamon, and all scented woods; Mint and lavender, and all herbs aromatic; A garden fountain, sparkling and splashing, fed by spring waters from the Lebanon mountains.” (The Message)
Pornography can never resonate with this type of sexual love, because this sort of love was His most coveted, original design, and that symphony can never be satisfied from the hands of a cheap substitute. You can never find truth in something that rips the heart and soul out of the symphony in the first place.
So, in this moment in time we can stand numb, swimming in the baby pool of deceit, or we can wait – wait for that moment in time when we can dive into the deep end and experience the full beauty of the symphony blessed by the Father – a symphony that’ll undoubtedly be unlike any other.