Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mark Driscoll - Porn Again Christian

Every now and again I begin to write a blog entry and find myself asking the question "I wonder if this is going to get me into a lot of trouble"! I remember that feeling when commenting on the Lakeside Revival and some of what was going on there. Well I feel it again now. But I also feel that this issue is so important that I want to take the risk of getting into trouble rather than missing an opportunity.

If you were in church today you'll have heard me talk about the Elephant in the Church of Sex, and as part of that I talked about pornography. I felt there was a lot more I wanted to say on that subject, but given the limited time available suggested instead a booklet by Mark Driscoll which I'd like all the men in the church over 16 to read (and for all parents with boys under 16 to consider whether some of this would be good to share with them too). It's definitely written for men, so girls I'll leave it up to you what you do with it.

It might prove a bit controversial, so in order to try and limit the number of emails I get this week I'll make the following comments:

  • If you're not yet a follower of Jesus Christ then allow God to sort your heart out before trying to change your behaviour. I'm directing this at Christians who know Jesus and have had that heart change but still have  issues from their old way of thinking and living to deal with.
  • I realise that pornography can be an issue for women as well as men. However, this booklet is unashamedly aimed at men. I'm not aware of a female equivalent (if anyone is then please post a link to it), but if you're a woman and pornography is an issue which has affected you in any way, then I'd encourage you to find another woman you trust who you can talk to, or to contact one of the Unique Leadership Team who would love to help you. 
  • The booklet is written in a very blokey and "in your face" style - not at all what we'd be used to from most of our Christian literature. Choose to be challenged rather than offended. If you survived the talk Sean Green gave at the Men's Day at Oakwood you can survive this!
  • It's also written from a US standpoint (which might come as a welcome change to all our Americans). That means that some of the people mentioned probably won't be familiar to you, and in particular that the last chapter on the US military might seem a bit out of place, although what it has to say about prostitution is absolutely spot on.
  • Husbands, think about how much of your reaction to this you could share with you wife. In particular some of the Q&A section could provoke some interesting discussions! Having lead the Marriage Course I do think there's a real need for couples to learn to talk about what they'd like from their sex lives.
  • You don't have to agree with absolutely everything the booklet says - I'm not sure I did either but it still challenged me to my boots. 

You can find the booklet by following this link.

I do think we have a real choice, both men and women, as to whether we just want pseudo community where we wear our masks and play at being religious, or whether we want genuine community where we tear off the masks and choose to be real with God and with one another. Let's choose the latter.

Simon.

9 comments:

Alli I said...

I'm sitting here wondering whether to write anything in response to this blog entry or not. Knowing that Simon specifically recommended the leaflet to guys, what will folk think of the fact that I read it. Though as a woman who walks with her eyes open, I have see evidence of much of what I read in this leaflet - on the middle shelf of newsagents/petrol stations/supermarkets; in adverts for some violent & sexual computer games; films; the news; newspapers; the video store; even the seemingly 'innocent & fun' series 'Friends'. Please don't let any guys try to kid themselves that because some women won't read this leaflet, we haven't already personally seen in our regular daily lives what is referred to in this leaflet. Self esteem for women is hugely based on what we look like. Are we this enough, that enough, and our girl/women magazines only support this mode of thinking. We need Christian men to be men by not only getting their hearts right with Jesus and taking on the battle of sexual purity. We need them to help us be honoured as sisters, daughters, mothers, wives and friends. To do that we need to know that they're not asking us to be anyone other than who God made us. To do that, they need to stop dehumanizing women by allowing themselves to consider women just another gadget to gratify their desires - either by the way they look at us or how they treat us. You men can, by loving God and loving the women in your lives as Jesus loves, transform a generation of sons and daughters, brothers and sister, boyfriends and girlfriends, future husbands and wives. Please do read this leaflet - especially the bit about Ted Bundy. Please invite Jesus to heal your heart if you struggle. Let God's church rise up and be the light it was and is meant to be.

Anonymous said...

I ,too,wondered if I should comment and I am encouraged to know I am not the only woman who read mark Driscols booklet. Alli has said it all and I can only echo and agree.

I feel Simon raised a much needed subject on Sunday and in the conversations I have had with 5 women in last 24 hours we all need to be asking God to continue to shape and mould us into a community that isnt afraid to be "real".

For too long many of us have hidden behind our masks and allowed isolation to breed a false sense of church life.The world around us is crying out for Authenticity and this whole subject of sex needs to be exposed to the light of Jesus Christ.

Thank you to both Simon and Catrina for being so brave and so honest .
Irene M

Anonymous said...

Absolutely excellent Simon the way you presented this on Sunday morning. I have as you suggested read through online the leaflet and must say did not find it half as scary as you made out. Completely agree with the comments that Alli has made, I do believe as the literature says that it is so easy for us guys to look at the opposite sex as something other than a sister, daughter, wife or friend particularly in this day and age when we are bombarded with so much visual imagery relating to sex and that plays on one of the primary triggers of the male sex drive.

I was challenged again by the verse from Job that 'I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a woman' This was probably one of the first verses I ever remember memorising many years ago when I was in a discipling relationship with Steve Finn and one of the subjects we discussed at that time was as men how do we deal with the day to day sexual temptation that is put in our way.

Also thought the section on Ted Bundy just highlighted to me how easy it is with so much pornography available today to become trapped in the progressive cycle of needing from what the world would call 'soft porn' to then progress to harder and more violent forms and how that cycle can have such a devastating effect.

Again Simon credit to you and Catrina for being so brave and honest to tackle such a sensitive and difficult subject

Chris M

FloydTheBarber said...

If it's of any encouragement, you're not alone in your caution...John Piper was nearly sacked from his church for an article he wrote called 'Missions and Masturbation.'

I think you can still read the article on the DesiringGod website...

Alli I said...

Thanks Irene and Chris for your encouragement. I did have a minor 'panic' - should I really have written that kind of moment. So to see your support has helped me feel ok about being me. Thanks again.

Also - have to agree with Irene and Chris that I want to commend Simon and Catrina for tackling this subject. It is brave. It also very much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Following the sermon's on sunday, (which I must add were refreshingly honest and, lets face it needed) I too read the leaflet and can only agree with Alli's points. Although it may be aimed at men, this IS an issue that the church as a whole needs to be open and clear about so, as part of our peach community, men can be united and supported if they feel alone in the issue.
My view is, (and feel free to disagree) we as a church cannot risk burying worldly issues such as this- and letting them potentially be soul destructive to members and outsiders. Although not all of the leaflet I totally agreed with, (eg. the slight implicating that God will 'whack you with sexual diseases' following sexual immorality) I can only re-iterate for men to read and share within small groups, and Dad's to work through some points with sons - for the next generation cannot afford to stay silent.

Thank you again for the series... it has been much help so far :)

x

Simon Benham said...

Thanks for all the comments. I've been really encouraged by the feedback to the series, and to this talk in particular. Fortunately I haven't faced the sack yet for anything I said :-)
Simon.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 32 year old virgin, been a christian all my life. Sometimes I look at porn because I feel so lonely...I tend to be over eager and scare women off. Haven't been on a date in 6 years. Now I think I'm not good enough to get married anyway.

I really hate myself.

Anonymous said...

I'd Just like to add a comment to the 32yr old guy, May I just say that took a lot of courage to admit what you have there are not many guys brave enough to admit that. You should take pride in the fact that you are an honest and brave guy... I am sure you'll meet the right lady who would be flatterd by your eagerness and if they dont then they are not for you, I was once told if someone cant except you at your worst they dont deserve you at your best... Dont hate yourself, believe in yourself as Jesus believes in you and I am sure loneliness wont be a problem anymore. There is someone out there for you and I am sure you'll find her.