Two Free E-Books for Men Struggling With Pornography and Sexual Addiction

Pornography and sexual addiction is the elephant in the room in many congregations around the country. I heard one statistic that as many as 50% of Christian men in America struggle with some form of sexual addiction. How many men is that in your congregation if that statistic is true? That adds up pretty quickly. What is more, many ministers are also wrestling with this issue. We will be reaping the destructive results of these addictions in the church for many, many years.

It is important that Christianity puts its collective foot down on this issue and begins to educate local Christian communities with a biblical view of sex and sexuality.

I am going to talk about that more in some future posts but for now I want to make any of you men out there who struggle with this two free e-book resources that you might find helpful.

Mark Driscoll’s Porn Again Christian – This book is pretty hard hitting, straight forward and doesn’t hold back on much. It answers many questions that people might be afraid to ask and deals with the issue of how destructive pornography is and how it fights against God’s ideal of sex within the context of marriage.

Tim Challies’ Sexual Detox – This is the compilation of the posts I mentioned earlier in one pdf. While the first book I would only recommend to those who struggle with pornography, this one is something I think would be beneficial for all Christian men to read.

I have no way to know who is downloading these, it is completely anonymous. So if you need to read either one of these please do so. Don’t be so proud as to think you can deal with these things on your own and walk away with a healthy view of sex or a healthy marriage if you are currently wrestling with pornography or other sexual addictions.

Tim Challies on Sexual Detox

Tim Challies has an excellent blog and is one you should subscribe to if you aren’t already. Tim offers up an excellent series of blog posts on sex, pornography, addiction, etc. These are excellent and should be read by all the guys/anyone in ministry. Nice work Tim! We need to encourage our young people before they get themselves in trouble rather than after. Too many people go into adolescents and adulthood uninformed from a Christian point of view and cling to the only information available to them – the destructive and deadly message of the world in regard to sex and sexuality. Here are the posts. Have a look:

Sexual Detox: Recommended Resources

Sexual Detox 1: Pornifying the Marriage Bed

Sexual Detox 2: Breaking Free

Sexual Detox 3: A Theology of Sex

Sexual Detox 4: Detoxification

Sexual Detox 5: Freedom

Pornography and Wiring the Brain with a Side Note On Video Illustrations in Preaching

David Philips has a great post on what pornography does to the brain. He goes on to draw application to ministry and the need for using more visual images in preaching. Maybe that could have made a separate post? On the flip side of Philips’ application in regard to images in preaching you have John Piper’s view that overuse of video and images might actually be a detriment to preaching. In his now often cited article at Out of Ur he said,

“I think the use of video and drama largely is a token of unbelief in the power of preaching. And I think that, to the degree that pastors begin to supplement their preaching with this entertaining spice to help people stay with them and be moved and get helped, it’s going to backfire…. It’s going to communicate that preaching is weak, preaching doesn’t save, preaching doesn’t hold, but entertainment does.”

I think there is a balance to be found here. It is clear that images do communicate powerfully and well timed images or video illustrations can greatly supplement a sermon and drive the point home. Obviously, if we rely on these week in and week out over and above the Word we are going to have problems.

There have been several really great comments on this post. I wanted to point out what James said here but please read the rest…they are excellent thoughts that bring great balance to the conversation.

“Can visuals rob power from the preaching? Yup. If poorly used, video, drama, and images can make a sermon feel more like a TV show than the exposition of the word of God.

But, when the sermon comes first, like Tim said, and the sermon can stand alone (if necessary), then visuals can add an emotional, transformational impact to the sermon. Putting in a movie clip that helps to illustrate a point or gets people thinking about the sermon topic can help train people to think such thoughts whenever they watch TV and movies. Piper is afraid of contaminating preaching with entertainment. I say we contaminate entertainment with preaching by training people to see their world through the eyes of Jesus.

Who’s with me?”

Restoration Repackaged With Vintage Language

One of the things I really like about reading Dan Kimball is his plea for things to be “Vintage”. He sees value in looking to scripture for ideals in how we live, worship, and develop our theology. Sound familiar? Sounds a little like the roots of the church of Christ. We have been asking for restoration to a first century ideal for quite some time and it is refreshing that others are seeing that while culture changes the Gospel does not.

Another person who is talking a lot about “vintage” Christianity right now is Mark Driscoll. I don’t know an awful lot about Driscoll but I have seen his book Vintage Jesus. Anyone have experience with him or his material? I have noticed he has been addressing the issue of pornography lately with free resources for dealing with this issue in Christian circles. Here is the link to that material.

Ripening Issues in the Church of Christ – Pornography

Another repeated message of the college rally last weekend was that many college students are struggling with pornography addictions. In Randy Harris and Chris Seidman’s question and answer period many of the questions submitted were related to pornography. When fully grown pornography becomes an addiction that can be as powerful as crack cocaine. The behavioral reinforcements that come from the resulting neurotransmitters released upon viewing pornography largely mimic what is produced by drugs like crack.

The Danger of Addiction:

One of the best definitions of addiction I have ever heard is that non-addicts love people and use objects and addicts use people and love objects. Addiction is a distortion of reality and a reshuffling of priorities that results from feeding unhealthy patterns of behavior and the subsequent release of neurotransmitters that brings pleasure from the activity or substance. Like any other sin it is taking something God made for good, sex, and using it in a way it was not intended to be used. Sex is something to be shared in the context of marriage. When it is it is being used as it was intended good results. When it is used outside of marriage or when it is used inside of marriage in a way not intended (ie – with an image alone rather than with your spouse together) it produces deadly spiritual consequences. I believe it was James Dobson who gave the image of godly vs. ungodly sex and sexuality being like a fire in a house. When it is put in the fireplace in the living room, where it was intended to go, it brings light and warmth and goodness but when it is on the couch in the living room, it destroys the whole house. Sex inside the context of marriage is a beautiful thing but when it is abused it can be deadly.

Renewing a Healthy Sense of Sexuality:

We need to renew our sense of healthy sex and sexuality. Our young people have been surrounded by unhealthy images of what it means to be sexy and what the norms are of expressing that sexuality. Where has the voice of the church been on helping our young people get a healthy view of their sexuality? Many have been silent. Many have acted like it is yucky or a taboo subject that is “off limits.” So where do young people go for their information? They don’t have to look any further than the magazine rack at the checkout aisle or the television and movies that are readily accessible (not to mention the internet). We have to start talking about this with our young people in our homes AND churches from an early age. To keep silent is to passively allow a death sentence on our children. We have to renew in our families and churches a healthy sexuality and it needs to start with our men. We need to hear it in our Bible classes, small groups, and from the pulpit. But won’t someone get embarrassed? Of course they will but wouldn’t you rather someone get embarrassed than someone get addicted?

Shon Smith illustrated this situation being like a tourist who traveled to the Nile River. He saw all these people sunbathing on the shore and they were mangled, missing arms and legs. All of a sudden he saw how it had happened. A crocodile come out of the river and bit one of the sunbathers leaving them disfigured and mangled. But no one moved. No one seemed surprised. They just stayed right there and continued to be attacked by the crocodiles. He yelled, “Why don’t you move?!? Why do you just sit there and get devoured by the crocodiles…why doesn’t someone do something? Don’t you know this is killing you?” But they just sat there.

We need some people shouting about this. We need some people raising their voices about how devastating this can be. We need to be made aware of how prevalent this problem actually is – not over there somewhere but right there in your church, in your home, among your family and friends. And like I have said over and over again here, we need safe places to talk about these things where we can express who we really are and what we really struggle with and find accountability and love rather than judgment and wrath.

Oprah Show and Pornography

Yesterday’s Oprah show had the results of an online poll from Oprah.com showed that 50% of respondents felt pornography had affected their sex lives and 72% said the effect had been a positive one. Something tells me the sample of respondents was not very representative of the general population. The show was pushing to re-label pornography “erotica” changing the connotation from something sinful to something natural. Dr. Gail Saltz was one of the featured experts. You may recognize her name from being a Today Show expert on mental health. She was endorsing the use of pornography with the following disclaimer, “The problem is, it can be a double-edged sword in that anything really pleasurable can become kind of addictive.” Kind of? With all of the mental health studies documenting the devastating effects of pornography how can she, as a mental health expert, endorse its use and modify “addictive” with “kind of”? That is like saying crack cocaine may in some instances be addictive but that shouldn’t keep someone from trying it because it can sure make you feel good too. That is a crazy thing for a health professional to say. If that isn’t strange enough the show also featured a couple who have an open marriage but are somehow not swingers and say they are not into “casual sex”? Her husband described his wife as having “more love in her life [that]…doesn’t take anything away from what the two of us have.” I am getting the feeling we no longer even understand what the word love means any more.

Isaiah 5:20-21

“Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight.”