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Archive for October, 2013

Bible Manipulating

My friend Uri has an excellent blog site. This is his latest and I wanted to share it with you. “Eat this book”!!

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Be Convinced: Abraham, Paul and Us

This is my latest blog for Grace Church of Dunedin, my amazing faith community. Grace and Shalom.

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What happens when a young man with a past of gratuitous, casual sexual encounters and years of consistent exposure to pornography, decides to settle down and marry the woman he loves? This is a question that though I’ve never heard asked, is being answered in today’s culture, in the Church as well as society in general. The answer is not a happy one.

In the 70s the porn industry saw an annual revenue of just around $10 million. The nineties changed the game with the internet, soft core porn on late night cable (ex. Skinamax) and “adult” channels dedicated to hard core.  A once modest industry claiming to be a business based on art and freedom became a global power force which is now worth hundreds of BILLIONS annually.  Its accessible, affordable, attractive and addicting. Pornography is not something that is relegated to these venues however, the culture that grows up in the ease of observing sexual fantasy in the virtual is living such fantasy out in the “real” world. I challenge anyone to find a top twenty pop or “hip-hop” song list in the last twenty years where the majority is not promoting this ideal, that sex is a harmless and liberating thing that anyone can enjoy, and indeed it is the truly human way to live. Sexuality has been turned into a sensory pleasure maker which is able to be controlled and enjoyed by the individuals. Sexuality has been turned into an act of desires and nothing more.

Back to the above question and the young man desiring to settle down: he might find that in order to do so will require a paradigm shift, a shift that will seem more like an earthquake than a tremor. This is due to a few reasons:

1. Pornography is not reality. This may seem like common sense but the un-reality nature of porn makes it destructive. There is nothing wrong with Batman, I in fact am a fan. I love him, my son who is two, loves him. However, if I decided that Batman was real and that I was him, I and my family would suffer. Without Bruce Wayne’s wealth I would not be able to pay bills. And attempting to stop crimes would get me killed or at least take away time as a husband and father. My point is that if I lived in that fantasy my reality would suffer. Batman is good, but believing you are Batman is destructive. Millions in our culture are choosing to live a life of pornography. According to pornography, meaning the story lines (yes they have them), plots and activities, monogamy is a negative thing, even an impossible thing. Pornography bases itself on a premise that the human is not designed for intimacy with one person (mate) but rather the natural thing is to have multiple partners. There are entire genres of pornography dedicated to this idea directly. A recent survey done among people who had cheated on their spouses rated the number one reason for their infidelity as the “fear of missing out” on something. Our media culture has taken pornography’s bait and is preaching this very message: If you want to be with one person, if you want to get married to one person you are going against your nature and you will inevitably miss out on the fullness and freedom that our way of life provides. In order to settle down the young man must face the fact that he has been living in a false reality, and his desire to settle down proves that his nature is in fact for true human love and intimacy. I have had people object to my arguments before with the question, “How does pornography destroy marriages? Its not real!” That is exactly how, it’s nature of being antithetical to reality. If the young man cannot live in the Now and the Real he is doomed.

2. Pornography is desensitizing. A direct consequence to the non-reality of pornography is that of desensitization. Those who immerse themselves in pornography are at risk of diminished emotional response to the non-pornographic. One way this can affect our young man is in his struggle with being able to live and act in the Now and with his lover. This may manifest itself in an inability to become aroused sexually in and with reality. He has trained his mind and body to desire the unattainable and impossible, the fantasy. This results in his mind replaying past sexual encounters and memorable pornographic scenes in order to fulfill his sexual appetite. The real and present are not good enough. This habit will inhibit his ability to enjoy and please his wife. If this cannot be overcome and changed, the relationship cannot survive. Desensitization caused by pornography is a relationship killer. The statistics are shockingly revealing. A temporary “fix” is to allow desire to dictate him. This however will only strengthen his addiction and keep him always in a cycle of pain and misery, of hurting others and being hurt. Rather than attaining the true desire to have a meaningful close relationship, the result will be being alone and self-alienation.

3. Pornography is antithetical to real human sexuality. Ironically, sexuality is not at all portrayed in pornography. I said earlier that sexuality has been made (by pornography) into a strictly sensory act for the pleasure of the individual. This is not true sexuality. Sexuality is a word that means “to connect” or “connectedness”. It is a core trait of human make up. To connect is what our hearts long for and seek every moment of every day. We are human, as a fish breathing in water, it’s our nature to connect: with our God, our world and one another. Sex is not bad, evil or scary. It is beautiful and essential to the Human. The problem with pornography is not that it “shows sex”, nor is it the nudity or the language. Pornography is wrong because at its foundation is a false and inhuman idea of sexuality. Porn attempts to make a sexuality using only sex acts. If human sexuality is to connect, then the act of sex isolated from connecting, is anti-sexual. Let me explain further. The act of sex, by itself, disconnects people. Casual sexual encounters drive people apart, from one another and others. Abusing sexual activity destroys marriages, families, friendships, reputations, health, self-esteem (hence the joke that strippers and porn stars are acting on “daddy issues”)…and we all know this. Screwing the cable man or delivering a pizza to a group of horny women ready to do anything seems great on a screen, but the reality is shamed men and women sneaking out of strange apartments not even knowing the names of their last night’s bed buddy and they are still alone and not connected to that person. It is my hope that our culture will become an authentic sexual one. This entails delight and responsibility in our relationships. Sincere love and compassion for all regardless of appearance or economic status. The kingdom of heaven is one that is rushing into the now with the mission to put all to rights, to fix what’s broken and liberate all who are oppressed. Pornography breaks and binds. It lies and kills. It has no place in the world as it should and will be.

I write this as one who has seen firsthand what pornography does to people, especially my fellow young men. I have had more than a few sit down with me hopeless and terrified of never having an authentic intimate relationship, or worse terrified of losing the one they love but can’t be intimate with. At first these cases were mysterious, but I have experienced and witnessed victory and liberation where there is usually always defeat and bondage. I have witnessed people who have seen pornography for what it is and embrace true sexuality and therefore their humanness which is freedom. Our young man, and the millions of men and women in our culture in his same chains, needs a paradigm shift of galactic proportions. Once this happens the fight will most assuredly be won. Once pornography is exposed to the heart, and therefore its false premises, social and spiritual agendas and consequences, its death begins. In its place grows authentic humanity and intimacy, true sexuality.

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