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Archive for the ‘pornography’ Category

PornScars4A while back The Big House asked Emma and I to come up with some resources for a conference called Porn Scars. It’s material to help foster discussion of porn among teens.  We came up with a fictional story, some discussion questions and a bible study in Colossians 3.  The Big House turned it into a very attractive pdf which you can download here.

It’s billed as an evening’s worth of material, but if you did everything it would take 2.5 hours easy.  Feel free to download the attractive pdf and use in your own context.

Below is the text:

FREDDY’S STORY:

Finally, Freddy’s parents got him a smartphone. And not just any smartphone – it was 4G, with dual core processor and unlimited internet. It was faster than his dad’s laptop. He wasn’t allowed it at school, but as soon as he was home he was surfing the net, messaging friends and playing games. As far as Freddy was concerned this was the best present ever.

One day he was watching the latest viral video on Youtube. It was pretty funny – something about sneezing pandas dancing to Korean pop songs. At the end there was a link to another video. It was a compilation of girls in bikinis falling over. Pretty funny too. Then there was another link. This one was basically just the bikini girls.

At this point, Freddy plugged in his headphones. He didn’t want anyone to hear. When the “bikini girls falling over” finished there was another link – this one from a porn site. He swallowed hard, locked the door and clicked again. It was nothing he hadn’t seen before on TV but there was an address on the video. He typed it in and instantly his screen flashed red. Freddy almost jumped out of his chair. It was a massive sign saying “Restricted Access. You must be over 18 to enter this site.”

In a fit of honesty Freddy clicked the box saying saying “No I am not 18”. Suddenly he was returned to Youtube. “Oh!” he said, surprised by how loud he said it. It felt like he’d come to the borders of a mysterious land but instead of exploring, he had turned back to boring normality. Nothing on Youtube seemed remotely interesting now. He took a deep breath and hit the back button. This time he clicked “Yes, I am 18+”. In an instant he had a dozen naked women in the palm of his hand. His heart was pounding so hard it felt like it might beat a hole through his chest. (more…)

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How does porn impact a young girl who discovers her father’s stash?  Michelle VanLoon writes about it in My Father The Porn Addict.  This sentence struck me more than any other:

Porn taught me that the single most important thing to grown-ups was this mysterious world of fantasy, pain, and animalistic impulses too powerful to ignore.

Porn peddles a lie that becomes “the single most important thing” for those who buy into it.  Actually it peddles many lies, but here’s a prominent one: Porn tells us that love, respect and mutual honour are window dressing.  Behind closed doors it’s “fantasy, pain and animalistic impulses.”

Loving commitment and kindness are like mating calls.  The real business is mating.  People might talk about relationships and fidelity, actually it’s about glands and groans.  On the surface it’s love and trust, underneath it’s power and gratification.  And that’s what’s basic, primal, bubbling away.

To believe the lie is to feed it, to participate in it, to grow connected to it and then to see the world through its lens.  Porn sacramentally reinforces the worshipper in that creed and the cycle spirals down.

When a Christian is embroiled in this other religion, what happens when they are told to ‘clean up their private world’?  It will likely be heard as the demand to ‘put a lid on what’s real.’  Renouncing porn will be like agreeing to deny the truth, simply because the truth is too dangerous or shameful or powerful to acknowledge or indulge.  And so the determined porn-denier will commit to living in the unreality of kindness, mutual service and self-control.  All the while power and gratification throb away in heart and mind.

Combatting the lie will take more than a resolve to label pornography as ‘harmful’ or ‘bad.’  We need to know that it’s also ‘untrue.’  And why is it untrue?  Let’s cut to the chase:  God is as He is towards us.  God is not different ‘behind closed doors.’  He does not display sacrificial love as window dressing.  The Lamb is at the centre of the throne (Revelation 7:17).    Push through to the deepest depths of God and you will find a faithful marital love that gives itself for the other.  His gracious gospel offers are not mating calls to woo us while back at home He’s all about power and gratification.  No!  He is love ‘all the way down.’

Not every god will help you to conquer porn.  There are many gods who are power and gratification pure and simple.  And there are many Christian doctrines of God that offer a split-personality God – sacrificial in public, selfish in private.

But just imagine… what if, actually, the primeval passions that determine us are intimate, committed, self-denying deferrals to the other?  What if it’s respect and mutual love that are really bubbling away underneath?  What if it’s serving the other that drives this world, not using.  What if giving and not getting is ultimate?

And I don’t just mean, Let’s escape mystically into some godly sphere where that love stuff is true.  I don’t mean, Let’s affirm these religious truths (all the while knowing that ‘the real world aint like that.’)  No, let’s fling wide those doors that we’re always closing because we imagine that darkness rules the roost.  Let’s declare that Jesus really is Lord.  This really is Christ’s universe.  Light really is this world’s driving force, not darkness.   And all that other stuff is parasitic, corrupted, ugly, unnatural, ephemeral and passing away.

The lie of pornography will be unmasked and the bedrooms of Christians, both single and married, will be revolutionized when we see God aright.  Behind closed doors there’s not a throbbing, coercive power too dangerous to name.  The primal urge is not grunting but grace.

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Words eh?

This week I had a couple of chuckles over the words people had chosen.

First was an email from an internet accountability site.  It told me that a friend had accessed websites that were “Highly Mature.”  Judging by the domain names, “infantile” would have been a much better description.  There’s nothing adult about porn.

The second chuckle came when meeting one-to-one with  pastors in Eastbourne to discuss evangelism.  Two different pastors from two different churches have told me exactly the same thing:

We don’t like to use the word evangelism.  It scares people.  We don’t have an “Evangelism team” any more, we have a “Witness team.”

I fully agree that “evangelism” scares people.  And “witness” sounds much nicer.  But once you know the meaning of the two words, it’s a tad ironic…

We don’t like to be good news bearers, we’d much rather be martyrs!

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From Emma’s blog:

“Scripturally, sex is not whambamthankyouma’am. It’s a covenant promise, part of a total self-giving of which the body is the final handshake.  Where, within the safety of the marriage relationship, two people are emotionally, spiritually and finally, physically naked and – crucially, without shame.  Where men step out in strength and gentleness to love and give, whilst women are liberated to receive with joy and peace.

“In contrast, what do these sexualized images offer?  Sex without intimacy.  Invitation without delivery.  Toying, teasing, frustrating.  Everything on show, flesh exposed, but nothing really given.  A plastic, disposable body.  A plastic disposable person.”

Read the whole thing.

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Gail Dines writes soberingly of the misogyny of porn.  (ht Tim Chester)

And here Doug Wilson speaks of how porn has ironically dampened men’s sexual interest in real women.  He concludes with this memorable line:

Porn provides the kind of sex life that someone living in a Matrix pod could enjoy.

Which is another reminder of how Gnostic pornography is.  Just like gnosticism, it’s anti-women (a hatred of the other).  Just like gnosticism, it abstracts sex from its physicality and locatedness (including, of course, its relational locatedness).  Instead it sells a kind of essence of sex.

Now we could talk about the ways pornography trains men in misogyny and objectification of women.  We could talk about how it destroys a man’s own masculinity (like here).  We could talk about how it destroys marriages.  But what I want to mention here is a more general worry – pornography is a powerful training ground in gnosticism.

Wilson’s point is not just that men in a Matrix pod would choose porn but that living porn users are trained to prefer life in the pod.  Porn is a powerful reinforcement of that gnostic air that we breathe which always prefers the ideal and the universal to the real and the particular.  And porn comes along and it wants you to desire a general, unrelated, essence of eroticism – not to engage with an actual, physical person in relationship.

Now men have always prefered pleasing themselves to pleasing others, always feared entering into real relationship and engagement.  But porn reinforces this in the most powerful way.  And in such a pornified culture is it any wonder that we see these perversions of true masculinity multiplied: the man who dreams dreams but never follows through; who fears he doesn’t have the substance to actually make an impact in the real world; who withdraws from the roles assigned to him and seems to regress in maturity; who spends all his days in blue sky thinking and neglects actual work; who indulges in grand idealism but with no follow through.

These tendencies exist in all men, but porn uses and multiplies them. And it’s this disengagement from the here and now and real and physical and particular which characterizes both porn and gnosticism and which has a real grip on this generation of men.

Having said all this.  Blogging can fall under much of the same criticism!  Hmmm.  I’m off outside…

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Over the summer we got Sky Sports so I could watch the Ashes (I still think I should ask for a refund!)  One morning I turned on to watch some highlights and caught the end of  ‘Aerobics Oz Style.’  I immediately laughed remembering the show from my youth in Australia.  As I recall, the whole thing was basically an ultra-gay fitness instructor in ultra-pink lycra teaching ultra-fat housewives to star-jump.

But it seems Aerobics Oz Style has changed.  The gay guy in spandex has been replaced by 5 supermodels – part silicone, part botox, part peroxide, all legs and boobs and hair and teeth – gently stretching in the Australian sunshine.  I stood there holding my remote – my laugh of recognition turned into this boyish burble.  “Hur hur hur- the purdy laydies with their purdy hair, hur hur.”  After a few seconds of slack-jawed, misty wonder I snapped out of it and changed channel.  But I couldn’t help asking myself – What just happened?  How did I go from grown-up to idiot boy in the space of 5 blondes?

Well here’s my quick answer: when women uncover themselves to serve passive men some fundamentals of masculinity are reversed. Or to put it another way: pornography turns a man into a child. (I’ll leave to one side women and porn here – though that needs thought too.)

Think about it:  A man is meant to go out from himself and win a bride.  He is meant to proactively serve an actual flesh and blood woman with real and costly service.  He – and he alone – is to uncover her nakedness (a common biblical phrase, see Lev 18) and enter into a deep oneness, not only of flesh but of soul and spirit also.  The woman is to be discerning, to give herself only to the one man who lays down his life for her.  She is to warmly receive him and him alone with single-hearted faithfulness.

But then, what happens with the man who indulges in pornography?  He doesn’t go out from himself but turns in on himself.  He pursues nothing but his own desires.  He woos no-one but himself.  He is not the active servant, he is the passive recipient.  He doesn’t uncover her nakedness, she indiscriminately uncovers herself.  He doesn’t engage her mind or heart but merely consumes her flesh.  This image calls forth nothing from the man except his credit card details.  And the habituation of this selfishness will only shut him down further.  Pornography turns a man into a child.

Which is why the male icon of the porn industry pads around his mansion in his jim-jams.

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poms3Tim Chester’s new book title thrills the heart of Aussie Anglophobes:

Living Pom Free

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But it looks like it might be a good read.

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