Look at porn?….Why not: Redefining sexuality for the church.

Everyone knows that it can prove very dangerous to mess up on grammar. You can really give the wrong impression with an ill placed comma or full stop. Or in the case of the title of this blog, a question mark.

 

You could read the title of this blog in two ways. Firstly, you could read it as a invitation to look at porn and a response to take that invitation up on its offer.

The other way you could read it is as an invitation, followed by a response detailing a few reasons why you wouldn’t or shouldn’t look at porn.lets eat grandma

I’ve definitely asked myself the very same question and answered in both ways, countless times in my life. But I think a question like this and how we respond shows us a lot of why churches are ill equipped to talk about porn or sex with their congregations. It’s not so much that it’s a bad question or even unhelpful, but rather not the best way to start conversations around sex. Continue reading

Nuts magazine closing: How the Church should respond.

On Monday, Nuts, the lads magazine announced that they were considering bringing their publication to a close and ceasing operations. I read a few tweets celebrating this fact and I’m going to admit it will be better for there to be one less magazine on display in shops which depicts women as just objects for men to masturbate over. Because let’s be honest nobody buys these magazines for the in-depth and insightful movie reviews.

But will it really make much of a difference?      nutsmagazine_logo_0

Continue reading

Why John Piper is wrong about Porn

Several years ago I read an article by a Pastor I had never heard of but which transformed the way I thought about sin and addiction and their consequences. I had been a porn addict for a few years already and John Piper’s words filled me with hope and peace and strength. I still come back to this article even now and if you are struggling with porn or any sin for that matter I really, really can’t recommend it enough. Continue reading

Why Giving Up is the Only way to beat addiction. Part 2.

If you strip it down to its core essence, essentially all addiction is about worshiping an idol.

Now I realize that the term idol has a lot of religious connotations which will put off many people, but I think that the word idol fits well here. Especially if we rethink what it means.

So let me come up with a definition of an idol that hopefully will resonate with anyone struggling with an addiction, regardless of belief. Here goes. Continue reading

Why Giving Up is the only way to Beat Addiction. Part 1.

ImageBecoming free from the never-ending cycle of an activity that is harmful for you is one of the most difficult things that anyone can ever do. Addiction is a horrible thing to live with and the hopelessness that it causes is soul destroying.

I write a lot about addiction because I am an addict. I used to look at porn. I’ve written that sentence in various forms a lot over the years. At first it terrified me, afraid what people would think. After a while being clean I didn’t want to write it anymore because it wasn’t who I was anymore. Then I realized that actually it’s always who I will be. In much the same way an alcoholic can be sober for 30 years but still identify themselves as an alcoholic.

The reason we do this is simple. No matter how long you have been sober, you are only one pint, or one click away from falling back into old habits. So everyday I remind myself that I am an addict and I can’t go back to my old ways.

Some days are easy. Some are unbearably difficult.

But by reminding myself that I need help everyday, that I need to continue to reach out to the people who support me, to keep going over and over and over the tools that I use; I remember the beauty of where I am and will hopefully keep heading. Every addict who wants to give up will say that this was the last time. That tomorrow will be different. That I don’t want to feel like that again.

The moment you finally do give in again is one of the most depressing and hopeless moments in your life. All the hard work seems like it is lost. All the many victories pale in comparison to this one defeat.

And there is no warning. Your mood can sometimes play a part in staying sober but not always. Everything in your life working out can be just as much of a trigger as everything falling apart. That’s why addiction is so tricky. That’s why you take every day as it comes. Otherwise it will smack you in the face when you’re not looking.

When that moment came for me I had been sober for a few months. Everything had been great and then one day, one single event led to a spiral back into porn. I didn’t see it coming and I wasn’t ready.

That triggered months of indulging in porn.

I tried everything in the book to stop. Accountability, filters, reading the Bible more, praying fervently, journaling, you name it I did it. And yeah some things worked for a while. But not for long.

It felt helpless and I felt trapped in the cycle of shame, some fight and positivity in me, eventual failure and back to shame.

Deep down there was a part of me that believed that success was attainable. I had experienced it for several months before so I knew it was possible. Not in a theoretical sense but in a personal way. This was not someone else telling me I could do it; I had actually done it.

Then one day it hit me. I realized the mistake I had been making the whole time. It seemed so obvious but yet I had missed it completely.

I had been trying to stay sober for all the wrong reasons. I had been using the tools given to me for the wrong objective.

My goal had been to stop looking at porn and I realized that that was a mistake. I had to ask myself why I wanted to stop looking at porn. Yeah it made me feel like crap and yeah it stopped me from being part of things but those were the wrong reasons. As long as I continued to make not looking at porn my goal I was doomed to failure.

And it was so simple why it was doomed. Maybe too obvious.

But once I realized what my true reason for staying sober should have been there was no turning back.

What you don’t know about Addiction

Addiction is a focused and malevolent disease.

It’s not impartial. Impartiality suggests some kind of outside mediator working for peace, but it doesn’t do that. It doesn’t even hate. Hate suggests some sort of emotion exists; some sort of reason to hate. But nothing has caused addiction to hate. It doesn’t hate you. It is emotionless and void of any respectable trait.

At least hate can arise from anger and anger can be righteous.

Not addiction.

But hate is actually the thing that can help us defeat addiction. Hate may be ugly but it’s real; it is human.

Addiction doesn’t make you feel bad; it uses yourself to make you feel bad. Since addiction has no human characteristics or feelings it isn’t put off when things are going well. Addiction can’t be human itself so it makes you less human. When you are about to act out, the thought of your wife or your kids or family and friends won’t stop addiction in it’s pursuit to destroy you. Forget logic because logic is not in addiction’s vocabulary. You can be addicted and rich, poor, young, old, male, female, angry, generally happy, a Pastor or a teacher. You can feel strong and ready in the morning and depressed and defeated in the afternoon.

But it can be defeated.

By reminding ourselves what being alive feels like. By hating all the ways our life is being ripped apart. By taking steps to connect with people who have won and are winning and to let them show us how. By being open even when it is painful, because at least pain means you are alive.

With every repeated day of sobriety, addiction loses its sting. With every single day that you understand what being alive really feels like, the less addiction can stop you. It won’t give up though, it’s steadfast in its goal, but more and more you will be able to put up the walls necessary to win.

You will forget and you will need people to remind you.
You will give up and you will need people to fight for you.
You will hate yourself and you will need people to love you.

Because hating addiction is only there to set the foundation for the real force that will make you stronger.

Love.

You hate addiction because you know that there is something deeper and elusive.

The love of yourself. The love of others and the love of others for you.

For today at least that’s all we’ve got.

But it’s enough.

Real men talk about porn.

SECRET+WPI recently came upon this post about porn addiction and as a porn addict myself who has struggled on and off for many years and has been able to get it under control (with a lot of help from other people- I’ll get to that later) I take a keen eye when it comes to reading articles and blogs and pieces about porn. Especially, as it relates to Christians.

So when this blog came to my attention via Stuff Christian Culture Likes on facebook I clicked the link to read it straight away.

Now I am sure that the writer had the best intentions when writing it and I am sure they are passionate about seeing men (and women) free from porn. He is spot on when he says that porn addiction is a conversation that we need to be having.

The problem with any discussion on porn addiction that begins with hyperbolic language to make a point is that you run the risk of alienating the very people who need to hear the message. Continue reading

Porn: How the Church needs to opt in.

A week after David Cameron’s announcement that he would be tackling internet porn by ensuring that all new internet users would have to effectively choose to be able to view porn online; it is fair to say that responses have been mixed.

On the face of it it’s good news for parents all over the UK who are concerned about what their kids are viewing online. Parents can now choose to block all porn sites and relax knowing that their kids will not be able to view porn.

Kids viewing porn is never a good thing. It can lead to years of shame and self esteem issues if let to spiral out of control into their teenage and then adult years. It’s is easier than ever to view porn and if you care at all about what your kids are looking at then you shouldn’t let the internet babysit your kids. Continue reading