The Price of Porn

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Last week I attended the annual conference of the CRC’s Safe Church Ministry. I attended a number of workshops and presentations over a couple of days. One of the sessions I attended shared the heart-wrenching story of a couple affected by internet pornography. This husband and wife shared their difficult journey through the husband’s porn addiction and his recovery.

What struck me about the session was the courage of the presenters. Pornography affects individuals in our churches in the same way it affects the broader society. But porn is one of those taboo subjects that we don’t want to discuss. Why won’t we talk about it? Porn is here and it will affect the church. By not speaking about it, we allow it to flourish. I admired this couple’s courage because, by telling their story, they are giving permission to all of us to talk about this issue. It is time to talk as couples, families, parents and children, churches and communities. 

If you take the time to read about this issue online, especially as it relates to the church, you will soon realize this is an important issue for families. At risk are the well-being of men, women and children. At risk are vulnerable people forced into this industry, including many little children and youth. Internet porn causes abuse and lasting trauma to many of those unwillingly forced into the industry, puts marriages at risk, reinforces gender-based violence and abuse, creates harmful addictions and prevents people—young and old—from pursuing and living in healthy relationship with each other.

Want to learn more? 
Two years ago, this topic was the focus of the CRC’s Abuse Awareness Sunday. You can find some excellent resources on this page.

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Participant

here's a recent article (warning: possible trigger for those who have been abused or affected by porn)...

there's a lot of work that still needs to be done by the Church in this area.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tmatt/2014/05/porn-again-facing-denial-in-c...

very disturbing quote from article:

But while the culture wars rage on and draw the most attention, Lambert argued that the greatest moral threat to the church today is “the Christian pastor, the Christian school teacher, the Christian Bible college and seminary student, who exalts sound theology, who points to the Bible and then retreats to the basement computer to indulge in an hour or three of Internet pornography.”

and some of the comments are also very disturbing...

Participant

Thanks for your post Bev - great article. Pornography is often referred to as a "victimless crime" - it's not! In addition to those caught up in producing it, it causes devastation in relationships, marriages, and families. We need to consider what kind of future we are creating for our children. This is a HUGE problem that needs to be addressed!

I am also aware of many pastors who struggle with pornography, but are very afraid to be public about it. We also need to think about creating a culture where it's OK to be honest and to seek help. There is help available - but not as long as we refuse to acknowledge the problem.

Safe Church is supporting the efforts of "Shore 2 Shore With a Roar"  - a motorcycle ride to increase awareness about pornography. There are people in this group who have faced the issue head on, and have grace-filled stories to tell. Find out more at www.shore2shore2014.com.

Participant

I know it's huge... and definitely not victimless...  just the tip of the porn iceberg is horrific... a friend recently shared Mark Driscoll's book "a call to resurgence" with me, and in it, he gives a list of some of the consequences which include the ones you mention, and again, this list is just the tip:

 

Objectification of women

lack of intimacy with spouse

no need to marry

couples who watch porn together and each fantasize about other people

promotes sex trafficking and abuse, especially of women and children (I would hope this would appall anyone enough to be so horrified that they would never want to view porn again, they are all horrible, but I would pray no one would want to be connected at all to this type of evil)

contributes to sexual sin in ALL forms

downplays severity of sexual sin

deteriorates ability to be faithful and content in marriage, which opens the door to lots more issues with children, relationships, etc.

corrupts relationship between parents and children

(paraphrased list from A call to Resurgence; mark Driscoll; 2013; Tyndale; p54-57

 

What do you mean by OK?

so does having a culture where it's OK for pastors to be honest about their struggle with porn, mean that we are saying they don't have to worry about losing their job, that we will be ok with leaving them in leadership? do we really think it's ok, for our spiritual leaders to stay in leadership if porn is an issue for them?  do we think they are still qualified to lead?  is that biblical?  Do we not view porn the same as adultery, even though that’s Jesus perspective in matthew 5?  Why or why not?  Why are the leaders so fearful?  are they fighting tooth and nail, like the Catholic church to keep it covered up, because it's so pervasive? is it possible we could have half (or more) of our leaders that should consider stepping down from leadership if the statistics are at all accurate? ... is this issue so HUGE, that’s why leaders are afraid to even begin to address it, because it would mean that maybe 50+% would lose their positions of leadership, including themselves?    are we downplaying how horrible porn is?    I'm asking, because I'm stunned at how poorly the church has so far addressed this and would like to understand what is going on that this HUGE issue keeps getting covered up by the Church leaders…  Do we think God is ok, with how the Church has responded so far?

 

...because at this point, doesn't it seem we are helping the enemy out because keeping it secret and hidden, in the dark – including through lies and deception, which is in agreement with the enemy's ways, (John 3 & 8) but God's way is bringing sin into the light, transparent truth (Eph 5), which doesn’t seem to be what we are doing?  Am I wrong?  I really struggle with understanding the fear, why are they so fearful?  that indicates a number of things, including lack of trusting God with His ways, and much worse...

 

Again, we all must be willing to lose our life/job/reputation for His sake, then we will find it... that's God's way...  hard? yes, but spiritually healthy per scripture!  One article says statistically, only 1% voluntarily share their struggle with porn, the rest get found out.   here's the link to a disturbing article on that...  I think i've posted this one before on another response... but it's worth a re-read...  http://blogs.christianpost.com/guest-views/sexual-sin-in-the-ministry-8613/

 

if it's child porn they are looking at, then they are definitely beyond any question not qualified, and I hope that would not even be a question...  even the secular world, thank God, recognizes that as very sick and very wrong...   so don't we see that when one is into porn, they are going to get more and more depraved and it tends to suck them into illegal child porn?  That will ruin your very life quickly, when it's found out...

 

http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/dozens-charged-in-child-porn-case-in-n...

again, I will add a warning, the reading the article could trigger responses connected with abuse... porn is evil, and especially horrific when kids are involved... and so the related articles are tough reads...

 

God help us, His Bride, to be holy as He is holy...

Participant

Hi again Bev,

There are no easy answers here - rather we must learn to live in the tension of truth and grace, judgment and mercy, consequences and forgiveness. It's not an either-or proposition, it's a both-and struggle to find the best path. None of us are holy, yet we are called to be the church, Christ's body in the world. And I believe that church leaders especially need to be held to high standards to honor the great and holy name of our Lord.

I also believe that abuse thrives in silence and secrecy; therefore, we need to create a culture where struggles with sin are shared and not hidden. There is a tension that must be maintained, lived through, and wrestled with. We may not all draw the lines in the same places, but to keep it all hidden is not a viable option for a healthy church.