Pornography and Addiction

THE REALITY: AN ABUNDANT LIFE


Mike Bickle says in his book, ‘The Seven Longings of the Human Heart’, Addiction wraps itself around a person, giving their natural appetites an artificial life of their own, while simultaneously short-circuiting their ability to function normally.

Let’s overlay this quote in a light specific to pornography addiction. “Pornography wraps itself around a person, giving their natural [sexual] appetites and artificial life of their own, while simultaneously short circuiting their ability to function at a normal [sexual] level.”

Russell Brand, a well known British comedian and talk show host who has been clean for 10 years makes this inciteful comment, “Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.”

It’s easy for us to separate ourselves from those who battle the ‘obvious’ or ‘harmful’ addictions like drugs, alcohol and pornography. However, the truth is that at some level we all look for a bit of escapism or comfort. For some it’s as ‘harmless’ as the soap opera we watch week after week, going to the movies, working out at the gym, consuming alcohol or food.

In his statement, Brand exposes what’s at the heart of so many of us, that desire to ‘check out’ of life. This is the birthplace of addictions.


“Addiction wraps itself around a person, giving their natural appetites an artificial life of their own, while simultaneously short-circuiting their ability to function normally. Loss of control appears in everyone’s definition. Eventually the substance or process once sought to fill the emotional void and bring pleasure becomes the slave-driver. It demands repetitive use.”
(Melinda Fish, ‘I Can’t be an Addict, I’m a Christian’)


So, what’s the answer?

We need to know who we are and what’s available to us in terms of ‘reality’. God promises us the “abundant life”. It sounds great! Full of abundance and plenty. The thing is this: the Israelites had to go through the wilderness to get to their land of abundance.

Our PRIMARY battle is always in the mind. In the moment, as we pause, we need to ask, “God what lie have I accepted that is allowing this to tempt me and telling me I cannot survive my current reality without it when you have everything I need to get through this?” I can promise you it is most likely a lie about Him. When you are at home and you are bored or lonely and that little voice offers pornography as a way out, identify that option as a lie and ask God for his truth.

The truth is that God wants your freedom more than you do. He paid the ultimate price for it and is always setting you up for success. Freedom cost Him something; it will cost you something. Sink into His love and ‘stand firm’. You were born to win this war.

— Soo Prince (Intern)


Decisions For Tomorrow

QUICK FIX


Single. Hurting. And independent. A great combination for masturbation.

Or any sexual activity for that matter. Fortunately, my oath to singleness kept me from further sexual activity, but it’s all the same. A band aid applied to the surface of what’s truly killing us under the skin. For me, masturbation consoled the pain I shoved deeper and deeper into my soul, as the smile I wore conveyed the confidence, security, and strength I wanted. No one would ever have to know of the mess at home, the financial fears, the relational lack, the personal abuse of perfectionism. I didn’t need anyone. I took care of everyone. I was fine. I was self-sufficient, I was strong, I was being spiritual. I only needed God. Didn’t I?

Sexual activity, masturbation, and pornography function as harmful roads to intimacy, comfort and connection. Imagine coming home from a long day. You didn’t have time to eat lunch that day, and because you slept through your alarm, you hadn’t eaten breakfast either. It’s now 6:00 PM and you feel physically hollow (I feel like that after 3 hours, ha). You’re so hungry that you don’t even want to move. A decision now stands before you. Do I get up and take the time to cook myself a good meal- full of color, nutrients, and health, or do I just run to McDonalds? Most of us just grabbed fast food, but understand that we also just sacrificed quality and our future health, for a quick fix.

We offer the same sacrifice every time we choose masturbation for comfort. Sex for intimacy. Every choice carries an outcome. Like eating that junk food, we may not have preferred it, we may feel sick after eating it, we may not like the effects it’s having on our physical bodies, but at least we didn’t feel hungry anymore. In the same way, rather than sharing our pain, our hurt, or our fears with those around us, we bottle it, and “help” ourselves- robbing us of the true comfort, intimacy and connection we’re longing for.

Your decision today depicts your future tomorrow. So what will it be? Fast food or a good meal? It’s up to you.

Anna Weygandt (Intern)


It Happens Everywhere

TAKEN


I can still remember the taste of bitter disbelief lingering in my mouth when I found out that stories like Taken [the movie] actually happen. I mean, I knew that girls in rural South-East Asia would be ‘bought’ off their parents for some pitiful amount of money and promises of a good job in the city only to be brought to brothels and forced to work. I knew that girls in India could be doused in acid and forced to beg blind for their master. I knew it happened but only in third world countries, right? Only in countries where people didn’t have great houses or high walls or guns to protect themselves, right? So when I watched ‘Taken’ for the first time I had no idea that [the main girl] Kim’s story was mirrored in real situations. Except most girls don’t have a father like Liam Neeson and they stay lost in the underground rings of sex trafficking.

This realization weighed heavy on my heart for a while and I began to look a little more into it. I was curious as to why this was allowed? Even in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, human trafficking generates $9.5 billion annually! This is no longer a developing world problem. This is a human problem. And it’s not all naive female tourists who accept a kind stranger’s help. The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. Our girls are being taken and enslaved. How does it happen? The kidnappers are predatory experts who know the type of girl they’re looking for. One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

There are so many organizations that are doing great work in rehabilitating girls who have run away or been rescued. The author of ‘Half the Sky’ (a book encouraging others to join in the fight for women all over the world to be free from oppression) suggests that keeping girls in school will increase their chances of survival. They will be engaged in their schools and make more educated decisions. Rescue and rehabilitation are so necessary, but prevention is essential!

Parents and teachers, you have a vital role in alerting your children to the realities, but avoiding it as a scare tactic. Girls especially need to know, but teach them about positive ways to stay safe. Public places are generally safe places. Teach girls to scream and fight even if threatened by death because kidnappers will usually issue empty threats hoping that the girls will come easily. Stay in cellphone range and sometimes, if feeling uncertain about a situation, even a pretend phone call to mom can dissuade potential predators. Role play at home to prep your girls on what to do in case of abduction. It is my understanding that girls who are prepped to fight are generally not the girls to be abducted.

Our first reaction would be to keep our girls at home in line of sight, but even that will become a prison of sorts and will make running away a more attractive option. And we know who will be there within 48 hours of these precious ones running away. So let’s encourage our girls to be powerful and smart and educated and willing to fight for the freedom of women the world over!

— Aimee Greig (Intern)


Same Sex Attraction

A HISTORY OF THE SEXUAL WORLD 


The subject of gender identification has become a hot topic over the last 20 years or so. However, same gender sexual experiences have been around almost as long as humans have. Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was confronted by a horde of men rallying outside his house asking to have sex with his male guests. Roman historians have noted that homosexuality was common in their culture. Greek men would procreate with their wives but engage in pleasurable sexual experiences with men [only if it was an older man with a younger man]. But there was one race forbidden to engage in such relationships. The God of the Jews had forbidden same sex partners. When Jesus had come and gone he left a new religion in his wake. Originally only Jews were converting to Christianity but then gentiles (non-Jews) were invited to join The Way (what the early church called their movement). Homosexuality was not an acceptable behavior for followers of The Way and as Christianity spread, so did the taboo on same sex interactions and homosexuality was driven underground. It remained unacceptable in Christian circles until only a couple of decades ago when various protestant denominations chose to not only embrace practicing homosexuals into their congregations, but also to ordain them as ministers. This created a huge response from conservative churches and much passionate feedback from people with bullhorns on street corners, and, in later days, anyone with a computer.


There are people in our world who feel confused, trapped, ignored, helpless and feared because of society’s inability to love people through their disagreements.


Thoughts:

I have been exposed to so many points of view, and in all honesty, the ones I most often encountered were from people who would run at the sight of someone who identified themselves as gay. Bible verses would be plucked out of context and bandied about like some sort of magic eye or spiritual defence lest they, too, become infected with the ‘gay gene’. The word ‘gay’ morphed into an insult in the school yard. I have seen a number of little boy fights that started with one boy calling the other ‘gay’. Homosexuality is something that children, in my experience, do not aspire towards. But the reality is that there are little boys that identify more with feeling like a girl, and little girls that want to be boys or do ‘boy things’. We have teens in the throes of puberty all confused because they are attracted to people of the same gender. We have men and women leaving their heterosexual spouses to pursue a life with a same sex partner. There are people in our world who feel confused, trapped, ignored, helpless and feared because of society’s inability to love people through their disagreements.

During one particular season of my life I felt like God was prompting me to reassess how Christians respond to people who sin [according to the Bible, homosexuality (amongst other behaviors) is a sin]. Generally speaking, humans run away from people they don’t understand. It started with people with mental or physical disabilities. They used to be carted off and put in asylums so that people wouldn’t be put off, or scared by them. People with Down Syndrome would be labeled as the ‘village idiot’ and tolerated as some sort of public charity. Nowadays we are faced with two opposing sides of how to ‘treat’ those who identify as LGBT. Some churches encourage attendance and promote LGBT leaders. Others refuse entry to ‘such people’ and exclude them from services. Still others stay silent and plead ignorance to what is happening in their pews.

Changes need to happen. But what do we do?

How do we accept people when we don’t agree with their lifestyle choices? Isn’t there a part of all humans that doesn’t object when bad things happen to people who sin? Don’t we measure our reaction to injustice whether people ‘deserved it’ or not?

There’s not a lot in the New Testament that talks specifically to same sex relationships. I believe that Jesus is perfect theology. To break it down, that means that God is perfectly represented through the life and actions of His only begotten Son. There is no recorded interaction between Jesus and a homosexual but there is a recorded interaction between Jesus and an adulteress. There is a recorded interaction between Jesus and a prostitute. There is a recorded interaction between God and a murderer (Paul). In all of these interactions Jesus calls these people, not by their sin, but by their identity. He doesn’t release his wrath onto them – which would have been justified and acceptable – but he offers his love and forgiveness and a second chance. He encourages them to “go, and sin no more.” After an encounter with the King of Kings, each one of these people were changed forever.

All of us have sinned. But the minute I start to assess others and decide that the love I give is proportionate to the [visible] sin of the person is the minute I, myself, am sinning. I am putting myself on God’s throne and deliberately ignoring his command to love others. If Jesus is my example, I need to love people no matter if I agree with them or not. It’s my responsibility to connect with their Creator and find out the reason for their existence. I am still called to treat them as first class citizens. I am called to love them as God loves me. I am called to be friends with whoever crosses my path and to let the Holy Spirit be the one to breathe life into their spirit.


Jesus is perfect theology.


Extra notes for those concerned about children/teens:

If you suspect a child/teen is same sex attracted (SSA) then here are some things to remember:

Their behavior does not determine their identity or value.

Boys playing with dolls is not an alarming behavior – maybe they just want to be a great Dad. Girls playing with cars and trucks and playing football is not alarming behavior. Be aware of the danger of gender stereotyping and labelling.

Aside from children who have been sexually awakened early, most children are incredibly innocent in their speech and behavior and it’s most likely not indicative of their sexual orientation.

With the help of a wise, sensitive counsellor it is possible to re-route the brain’s connections that have led your child to identify with SSA.

Be incredibly vigilant in policing ‘playground talk’ ‘you’re gay!’ or ‘you’re a homo’ etc.

Have consistent and open communication with your child about all areas of their life. Even if they adamantly insist they are SSA, there is a multitude of other topics you can remain open and connected about. Isolating your child will harden their heart to ever changing.

Don’t blow it out of proportion.

— Aimee Greig (Intern)


The Big Brain Theory

NATURE VS. NURTURE


In a world where people who identify as LGBT we are surrounded by all sorts of media carnage and it’s hard to pick the meat from the bones. Scientists have not found evidence that people were born gay or that there is a gay gene. The thought that all people choose to be gay is a little naive and somewhat insensitive. We want to look at the possibility that experience shapes people’s gender orientation. Here’s some thoughts to consider.

Did you know that your brain is your biggest sex organ? Did you know that, man or woman, when you get aroused, or sexually stimulated then chemicals flood your brain that tell you, “This feels great! Let’s do this again!” Let’s break this down for a minute, though. Your brain, though highly intelligent, is still grey matter. It’s still lump of flesh. So your humanness is made up of body, soul and spirit designed for all to work together to ensure that your brain works for you, not against you.

You might be thinking, “what’s this got to do with anything?” Well, here it is. I’m going to present a few statements followed by a few questions, solely for the purpose of encouraging you to think for yourself. You may be looking for answers, but sometimes more questions are needed for the answers to be found. Here we go!

Every time you experience something new, a synapse (connection) in your brain occurs. In order for that synapse to become permanent, you need to repeat that experience/fact several times. (What happens to the effeminate young boy branded as ‘gay’ by his peers and his family? How many times does he need to hear that he is gay for his brain synapses to reroute and for him to begin to identify with what they’re saying? What about the little girl who was repeatedly molested by another woman? How many times did this happen before she accepted it as factual information?)

Your first sexual experiences generally tend to be the basis for your fundamental beliefs about sex and sexuality. These beliefs can be formed through negative or positive experiences.

Whatever you get sexually aroused to is what will remain the main thing that will ‘do it’ for you. (Maybe the boy thought he would see if he was really gay and his first kiss was with a man. What if his body registered the kiss as arousing, but his eyes were seeing the man and bonding to that experience? What about the little girl who was molested by a woman but at the same time was being stimulated and aroused? Her first sexual arousal was with a woman. Who is she likely to bond to?)

In order for humans to thrive, they have some basic physical needs. They also have soul needs. Intimacy is a soul need. Sex is not a need [for an individual to thrive]. (What if that little boy became a young man that needed a close guy friend, someone who he could share his heart with and somebody who would fully know him – but he could only ever find men who wanted to share their bodies, not their hearts? What if that girl really wanted to be in a heterosexual relationship, but was only aroused by women?)

Remember we are in a war for peoples’ souls. Let’s remember who the real enemy is.

— Aimee Greig (Intern)

 

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Sitting With Jess

“I SAT DOWN WITH JESS AT A TABLE…”


It was the same table we sat at on every break. She wore a smug look of exhaustion as I started talking about what happened on my weekend. I started describing this Moral Revolution conference I attended and the wonderful things I heard. Things I’ve never thought of before… Things I was eager to share, but still unable to fully comprehend. Almost instantly, Lauren could see Jess was uncomfortable and brought up the topic of homosexuality. You see you don’t know Jess, but she has been openly ‘out of the closet’ for some years now, and Lauren wanted to know my stance.

I cared about Jess. I guess you could say I even loved her, of course without all the mushy-gushy feelings and whatnot. But I wanted to believe what the Bible said was true. I could sense my friendship with Jess straining under the pressure of Lauren’s inquiry. It was like I was dangling off the edge of a cliff, and the bottom harbored ravenous wolves as they waited for my reply.

I sent up a silent prayer before I hesitantly opened my mouth to speak. I decided to focus my answer towards Lauren, because I was afraid that if I looked at Jess directly I would lose all confidence. As if acknowledging Jess was some form of accusation, and would be misinterpreted. As I began to differentiate same sex attraction and homosexuality, I could see Jess shift out of the corner of my eye. Unable, to hold my focus I turned and noticed a flash of curiosity on her face. Instantly, I felt a surge of bravery and started to become more bold and animated during my explanation. I talked about how God created man for woman and vice-versa, but because hurt, neglect, confusion, ridicule, or sexual abuse people can develop same sex attraction. Like an untreated sore, same sex attraction can fester and bring about the final proclamation of homosexuality. However, if God indeed made you that way, then you have every right to question Him and His judgement. But if He didn’t, and the Bible is telling the truth, then you are held to that truth and are obligated to seek resolution.

Lauren couldn’t believe it. In fact, she refused to believe it. She exclaimed, “So you’re telling me all homosexuals are broken people?!” A hush fell over the table. I gathered my thoughts and replied, “No, but who’s to say that broken people are unable to affect you? Have you ever thought about that?” Although, the thought was a bit incomplete, Jess opened up. Unable to withhold what she wanted to say the whole time.

Jess began describing how she was molested by her grandfather when she was three years old. She told her parents what was happening, but they refused to believe her. The abuse continued well on into her pre-teens. When it was finally time for her to settle down after college she got married to a long-time friend. However, after 8 years of marriage infidelity crept into her home. One day, she came home early from work and caught her husband with another woman! The table was silent once more, and I quietly dismissed us both.

When we were finally alone she confessed, “I don’t know how to trust men.” That was it! That was the answer. That was the lie that penetrated her heart at the tender age of three. I wanted to tell her about Jesus. I wanted to convert her, but instead I held her… gently.


Aborting Fear

THE HEART OF THE MATTER


I never thought I’d be able to say this, but, here it is:

I understand why women have abortions.

Now, I’m not trying to get up on a soap box, to say I know it all – the pain, the confusion, the terror- but I am sharing my own experience, to try to bring a little understanding and compassion to the ones we will meet in our lives who may not see life the same way you or I do.

Early on in our marriage, my husband and I decided that I would discontinue our use of hormonal contraceptives, because its side effects were beginning to wear on both of us. Almost immediately, I felt “unprotected,” and I began living under fear: I was terrified of becoming pregnant. I was kicking and screaming inside against the idea that my life could suddenly change, and I might have to lay down my life- my hopes and dreams- to take care of someone that I didn’t really want.

Someone I wasn’t planning on.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?

I remember having my period come late one month and wondering, “What herbs might cause a miscarriage…?” You see, a “real” abortion was not an option on my list, but if it happened “accidentally,” well, then I wouldn’t be doing anything wrong! I was overwrought with fear, anxiety, haunting thoughts… I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was terrified of what would happen to my life, if I was pregnant.

What was motivating these thoughts?

Fear.

A lack of trust in God.

I didn’t trust that God would have my best interests in mind by blessing me with a child, therefore, “my life would be ruined” if I got pregnant.

If I, a sold-out, God-fearing Christian in a healthy, vibrant marriage can feel this way, can you imagine what the rest of world might feel like? I can go to Him for comfort, for help, for perspective and truth. But where do you go if you feel there are no hands holding your world? Especially if you’ve been raped, abused, are in an unhealthy relationship, or if things are really complicated?

You do what you can to protect yourself.

Those who have abortions may say that they’re being powerful, steering their lives even. But what if, they’re actually just scared and vulnerable, in need of a protective, providing Father?

Think about it.

The next time you begin to pray “against” abortion, stop. Consider changing your tactic. Instead, pray for the ones who are considering them. Pray for the men and women who need comfort, courage, strength, and a revelation of God’s constant care for all of His children. Pray for truth. Pray for hope. Pray for the root of the matter — their hearts.