Category Archives: Porn Addiction

The Rebel God: Evangelicalism’s Two-Faced God

I have been interested in neuroplasticity for a few years now, especially as it relates to addiction, and in how our brains process emotion, reason, and the dichotomy between the two.  This is a fascinating article by Derek Flood that addresses a possible psychological basis for how white, Evangelical Christians can sing songs of the love of Jesus one minute, and “amen” to a sermon on the evils of ______________ (insert your minority, religion, lifestyle, etc. of choice).

“…it makes sense to think “There is just no way a person could experience love like that and be so angry and hurtful. They must experience God as angry and hurtful.” So when Mike said essentially this, my first reaction was to agree. Then the more “science-y” part of me began to kick in. The fact is, people are very capable of compartmentalizing and showing great inconsistency in different parts of their lives.”

Here’s the link. It’s a lengthy post, but one I feel is well worth the read: The Rebel God: Evangelicalism’s Two-Faced God

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To An Anonymous Parent…

The retail store where I work recently received several photocopies of a letter placed over the front of several magazines in various displays throughout the store. These letters covered over such diverse titles as Shape, Women’s Health, Vanity Fair (yes, that one), and others. Oddly though, not Cosmo or Maxim, but maybe these were just missed (or they ran out of flyers).

The letter said this:

PLEASE consider carefully how your placing these sexually alluring photographs affects the lives of those coming into your buisness. They plant seeds of curiousity in children and in spouses, altering families. Your leadership in our community should be used to better the lives of others, not steep them into a life of bondage with promiscuous and sexually explicit pictures. As a parent it deeply concerns me about the lack of responsibility for our future generations and their sexual purity. PLEASE DO NOT place these images in full view of my childern. You are encouraging the idea that a woman is a sex object. She is much more than that…she is VALUABLE!”

(bold, underlining, and misspellings are all the author’s.)

Seeing as how these photocopied letters were left in stealth and anonymously, neither I nor the retail store have any means to contact this parent regarding their concerns. Therefore, I have chosen to respond here:

To the anonymous parent who left photocopied notes over our retail store’s magazine section:

First off, let me say that I personally agree with everything you have written. I, too, am a parent who is very concerned with the pervasive culture of sexuality within our society today. May I add that I am a recovering addict and victim of this culture as well, having spent many years under the bondage of pornography and the very images you are rightly concerned about.

In other words…I get it. I truly do.

In that vein, I have a couple of thoughts for you:

First–planting “seeds of curiosity in children…” is not a bad thing. Yes, the slippery slope of material which you are addressing is questionable. But, prevalence of this material also provides many opportunities to engage your children in an age-appropriate dialog over what is being shown, why it is appropriate/inappropriate, and better alternatives to express the same intent this material is wishing to provide. If you do not think this material is appropriate, tell your children why—in a constructive, non-judgmental fashion. Or, simply tell them about what is being shown, eg: “That woman’s name is Jillian Michaels. She is a fitness expert, and she is showing that through exercise and a good diet, you can be an awesome athlete, like she is.”

Do you know what your children will probably say?

“Oh!” followed by, “…hey look, pool toys!”

Second, turning this material around in its placeholder, or putting photocopied condemnations over the covers, only serves to heighten a child’s curiosity. They think that now they’re missing out on something. That Mom’s hiding something. Something controversial. Something shocking. Something “adult”. As a result, of course they’re going to want to see it! Only now, you’ve added the additional stigma that it is “bad”, lurid, and taboo, which somebody probably told you it was, once upon a time.

Is it? Possibly.
But no more or no less than that same child can see during any given day at any given public beach, or in any afternoon at a local fitness center (or, occasionally, standing in line at your local retail store).

I also agree regarding the “lack of responsibility for our future generations, and their sexual purity.” However, your target of blame on exactly WHO is responsible is somewhat misplaced.

Would it help if our nationwide retail establishments did not carry such material? Undoubtedly. But, we live in ‘Murica, where capitalism reigns supreme and the almighty dollar is the language of choice. God Bless the U.S.A. If you want to protect the future generations, how about we start by raising up that generation of future consumers NOT to be driven by such provocative sexual imagery?

That all sounds well and good, right? But, do you know where all of that starts? In the home. Not in the retail store, not in the publishing business, not with the clothing manufacturers, et. al.

Do you want to discourage the idea that a woman is nothing more than a sex object? Do you want to teach your daughter or son that a woman is more valuable than that? Well then….

It starts (and ends) with YOU.

It starts with education.

It starts in conversation.

It starts with engagement, not by turning a cover around. Not by chastising a retail establishment via anonymity. All you’re accomplishing by doing this is promoting fear and cowardice within yourself, and curiosity and temptation within your children. The most effective thing that can be done, the bravest thing that can be done, is that which is going to have to be done by you.

Talk. To. Your. Kids.

Thank you for reading. Have a great day.

~ Kent

An Interesting Article, Furthering the Conversation on Addiction

I thought this was an interesting article, knowing from personal experience that an explanation of ‘choice’ is just too simplistic. The research is ongoing, but it is enlightening, to me, that we are beginning to understand the social and psychological effects behind addiction.

addicts-recoveryhttp://elitedaily.com/news/world/scientists-may-discovered-real-cause-addiction/915030/#

On John Piper, Self-Control, and that there’s No Such Thing as Addiction

I’m sorry Mr. Piper, I humbly disagree with you…

 

This clip was recently shared across quite a few platforms of social media, including Facebook.  I get what is being said, and even more, I’ve seen the–literally–hundreds of comments following the posting of this video. But still, I’m torn.

Many of you know of my own struggles with sexual addiction in the form of pornography, and here’s the thing that stuck with me as I watched this video…

Yes, I know that God can do all things.

Yes, I know that the beauty of Christ should be enough.

Yes, I believe that Christ, through the Holy Spirit, can redeem you of your sins and that the beauty of Christ should usurp the miss-conceived ‘beauty’ of our lustful desires.

But, even after I had giving my life to Christ, after coming up out of the water at our baptism in the Spokane River in 2000, after asking God (and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and whoever else may have been listening) to take these feelings and desires and sinful thoughts away or at least aid me in the battle, after lying awake in bed, under the covers, sweat-soaked and shaking and pleading with God, after raising myself from my knees on innumerable occasions with tears running down my face, after breaking down, years ago, as I finally had the guts to tell my wife the life I’d been hiding from her since before we’d met…..

After all of those times, I would still wake up the next morning to realize…

I’m. Still. Me.

The sky didn’t crack open. Angels didn’t sing their soft hymns of grace over my redeemed soul. The mighty hand of peace did not descend upon my shoulder. The Holy Spirit did not guide me in the removal of all my sinful temptations.

And in a few days those same old feelings and desires and sinful thoughts would arise once again.

Yes, I believe God is more powerful than the enemy, more powerful than our sinful nature, more powerful than pornography. (1John 4:4)

Yes, I believe that, for some people, all that is needed is for that Christ-shaped hole in our hearts to be filled up, and all desires for the earthly things will fade away. (as in John 14:6)

For some people.

But, I’m sorry Mr. Piper and quite a few FB commenters; that is for some, not for all. And unfortunately, I’m not one of the some.

I still struggle. I still wrestle. I still lust. I still question. I still doubt. There are still times when my hands still shake and my heart still races with the lingering effects of addiction. I think of the opening scene of the movie “Thanks For Sharing”, as the camera follows a recovering sex addict through the streets of a major metropolitan city…and triggers are literally EVERYWHERE: Billboards.  Posters. Department store windows. Passersby.

And how true that is.

I know.   I see them.

EVERYWHERE.

And the enemy laughs.

My reality is that I have to face every day, sometimes several times a day, and summon that “proper motivation” that you claim is all I need. And I can. And I do. But it is hard, Mr. Piper. It is tiring. Exhausting. Mentally draining.

I want to win this spiritual battle Mr. Piper. And though I know I have the ultimate power of righteousness on my side, I am still fighting a very real enemy, with very real weapons, –some subtle, some downright manipulative–and it’s an unfair battle on his turf.

Worth it? Yes.

Necessary? ……………I wonder.

I’ve also heard that repeated exposure to those types of images over the months and years can actually alter a person’s brain chemistry (which is basically what ‘addiction’ is). Sex and porn addicts don’t ‘see’ the same way as other people do; many seemingly ordinary and harmless things, animate and inanimate, are filtered through the lens of our addiction. Triggers are everywhere, and each is different for each addict.

Further, just as I will tend to see the world differently, I can also see, through the commentary on social media, those who have struggled with addiction in their past (or present), and those who haven’t.

We just see things differently.

Yet, didn’t God make our brains, and the chemistry within them as well? Wouldn’t He know this stuff? Or at least make allowances (or forgiveness) for them?

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking that He forgive me in my addiction, only that He walk with me through it. (1Corinthians 10:12-13)  And I find it hard to believe in a God who does not answer the earnest, desperate pleas of his creation to deliver them from this enemy, from these weapons, from his laughter. (Mark 11:24)

I understand that I have my part to play. But, like every situation involving the intercession of God: there is my part, there is God’s part, and there is other people’s part. I can do nothing about how other people dress, about how Victoria’s Secret chooses to advertise (or network television for that matter). I can do my part, and only my part. And part of ‘my part’ is praying to God for the strength, discernment and, yes, self-control to aid in fighting this battle.

I believe that God is stronger than the enemy, and stronger than our fleshly desires and sinful nature.

I also believe the enemy is stronger than I am on my own, and the desires of the flesh and my sinful nature are stronger than my will (i.e. self-control) to overcome them. (1Peter 5:8)

I believe I am not just fighting my own desires. I am fighting a spiritual battle with only the weapons provided me by my human nature. A battle that I will lose every time. Because the enemy has been doing this a long, long time.

I have the “proper motivation”–which is God Himself, Mr. Piper. And yet I don’t believe in a God that would allow me to wallow in the mire of my own sin when I earnestly ask for aid in deliverance. I don’t think it’s that I’m not doing it right, or that I don’t truly have the Holy Spirit within me, or that I am not saved by the grace of the blood of Jesus Christ.

And yet, you seem to leave very little room for any other alternative.

But, maybe it’s just me…

BTW, here’s the trailer for “Thanks For Sharing”; not an easy movie to watch at times, but very unflinching in its true-to-life look at sexual addiction:

One. Day. At a time.