The “Requiem for a Dream” Problem

Requiem_for_a_dreamAs anyone in the pornography recovery community can attest, there is a real challenge in determining what is safe to watch at the movies. There are bits of culture that are more difficult to avoid like commercials and billboards, but what we pay for at the theater is very much in our control.

The classic case of this is what I call the Requiem for a Dream Problem. The movie, Requiem for a Dream, is the story of how heroin addiction destroys the lives of four friends. Everything about the movie appeals to me. I have struggled with pornography addiction myself (not heroin, by God’s grace) and I love the raw nature of the movie. By all accounts, it is a classic film and worth seeing.

Unfortunately, it also has graphic sexuality and nudity which is only aggravated by the fact that I find Jennifer Connelly to be one of the loveliest actresses out there. So this movie is my equivalent of  an alcoholic walking into a bar. I should not watch it.

Hence, the Requiem for a Dream Problem. At what point does the artistic merit of the film fail to outweigh the sexual temptation it will cause me. I suppose it could be called the Black Swan Problem or the American Beauty Problem, both of which are thought-provoking movies with serious sexual content. I wish I could watch them, but I can’t.

As with most problems, one should first look at the Bible. I looked for the movie watching guide in there and wasn’t able to find one. But there are important principles that apply. I should be cognizant of my own weaknesses for lust and considerate of the harm the film may do to others. Requiem for a Dream might make put a friend with a history of heroin addiction in a terrible position for entirely different reasons.

We should remember that movies are just stories and storytelling is an important art in all cultures. There is real artistic value that serves my soul in many films. We should be looking for the good in them. The Passion of the Christ may have an attractive woman in it, but the merit for honoring God is so profound that I should resist temptation and enjoy the wealth of God-honoring praise this movie brings to my heart.

There are also many foolish ways to approach this problem. For anyone who struggles with lust (read men), the idea of flipping through channels or going to a movie with no research is foolish. No plan is a plan and in this case, it is a very bad one. Our art culture is far to saturated with sexual imagery for us to march on with no plan. If you’re going to a movie, check it out online to see if it meets your conscience’s standard.

This begs the question, What is my conscience’s standard? How do I determine when a film (or any piece of art) crosses the line from being flawed but acceptable and when it becomes too harmful to warrant watching at all? This is a very personal line, but I want to discuss some ways to think about the issue.

Redeeming Value vs. Tempting Content

To be sure, images and movements are not evil in and of themselves. Sins only happen in my heart. A nude image of a women is not inherently evil (in fact, she was created “very good”). What if that image were of my wife? It would be good and even holy for me to drink deeply in delighting in her. The Bible in unblushing in its recommendations to enjoy one’s spouse (Pro 5:18-19).

Additionally, there is merit to the idea of redeeming value in a film. The Shawshank Redemption is one of the greatest films ever made and yet it opens with a sex scene. It holds out such virtues as perseverance, hope, kindness, and justice. I love the line that Andy Dufresne gives, “Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And a good thing never dies.”

I don’t know if Andy is right, but it is a great quote in a wonderful movie. Is the film worth the temptation I face in the opening scene? I think so. I often skip the opening entirely as it is not that pertinent to the rest of the film.

But I must be careful. More often than not, I am tempted to find a movie I want to see, then I go scrounging around for artistic merit so I have an excuse to watch it. I am not an unbiased observer. Many men are looking for excuses to see these films and it is not in a search for holiness, but in a search for cute girls not wearing much.

We are like a kid at the grand canyon. We don’t ask what is a safe distance to view the canyon from, we ask how close we can get to the edge without falling.

What is tempting to me?

Another important consideration is what specifically tempts me. Obviously, nudity is very tempting and I almost never watch films with nude women. I had to give up the shows House of Cards and Game of Thrones for this reason. I really like both, but it was simply not worth the temptation and sin it was causing.

I can’t watch any movie where girls kiss other girls. For whatever reason, this is a weak spot for me. A film need not have nudity or even sex scenes to be problematic. So when you are determining what is acceptable for you, know your own heart and steer clear of your own weaknesses.

What is loving for the actor or actress?

If 1 Corinthians  6:18 is right and whenever an actor or actress sins sexually, they sin against their own body. It would be unloving in that case to support their efforts to hurt themselves. The fact that it is consensual is irrelevant. I recently had a compelling discussion with a friend who said that he will not watch a movie where an actress had to undress in front of the camera crew even if no nudity is shown on screen. He argues that it is unloving to her to support her exploitation by men.

A more compelling argument is to ask, What if she were my daughter? I love my daughter very much and it would break my heart if she were to be ogled by a whole camera crew (who, by the way, would immediately go an jack off in the bathroom). It would break my heart.

To be honest, I don’t know how far to carry this standard, but I found it very compelling. If you want a more clear discussion about it, check out Cap Stewart’s excellent article Sex, Lies, and Star Trek.

Is it Lawful? Is it Helpful? Is it Enslaving?

In the book Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll makes the case that many of the wisdom decisions we make need to not simply ask, “Is this a clear sin?” There needs to be a higher standard. He suggests 1 Corinthians 6:12 as a guide. In Paul’s argument, he asks whether something is not only sinful, but helpful. Pastor Mark then applies this more broadly to ask the following three questions.

Is it lawful? This excludes everything the Bible forbids and that the state forbids.

Is it helpful? This asks if the film benefits me. Is there a good reason to consume the film beyond the fact I have an evening free.

Is it enslaving? Will the image of that girl follow me around the rest of my life? Will I have to use extra self-control later because I won’t use it now? Will I sin because I watched this film?

Will your freedom cause others to stumble?

Let’s say you set a clear standard and have satisfied your own conscience. You are fully convinced in your own mind what is safe for you and are comfortable with a film. Wait, there is a final consideration.

Romans 14 is a whole chapter about how Christians should give deference to the weaker brother. We should always ask if this will cause another to stumble. This is strange for me to say because I may be the weak brother. I am asking you not to put me in a tempting situation. Almost every time I see someone cite Romans 14, they assume they are the stronger believer. Not so this time. I am the weaker brother.

We need to be very cautious and respectful when recommending and watching films that we are not setting up a brother to sin. Practically, this means no one should ever watch any of the Transformer films (they are so sexualized and they are just awful movies anyway).

So What do I do?

If you have asked all the above and your conscience is still uneasy about a film, you probably shouldn’t watch it. The solution to the Requiem for a Dream Problem is that I will never watch the movie. I want to. I really do. But it is not safe for me.

-Chip

The Movie Poster above is under copyright and is used under a Fair Use.

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Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 12 The Infernal Spirit

The Count Vicegrim LettersThe Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 26th Year

You absolute buffoon,

How many times have I warned you about how crafty the Enemy’s Spirit is? He is crafty and dangerous. Never, ever underestimate him. He is silent, invisible, tireless, and unbending. We have searched for ages for ways to prevent his interference and we are convinced that to this very day he is silently looking into the pits of hell watching our every move.

He is watching me write this letter Mudpot.

You will never surprise him and you will never overpower him. You will never see him or hear him. You will never know what he is doing until he makes his move and now he is moving on you Mudpot!

On to your review.

The Good

Sure you have created cracks in the marriage and are encouraging his relationship with his secretary. But that doesn’t really count if he starts repenting.

I don’t feel like complimenting you today.

The Bad

So, let me get this right. You were relaxed and cocky. You assumed that you had everything under control and that even the Enemy’s Spirit couldn’t stop you from continuing the slow spiral.

Then he moved and you were caught off guard.

You see, it was no accident that the other pastor saw your patient’s web history. It was no accident that he brought it to the Senior Pastor and that they together confronted your patient. Nor was it an accident that they approached with firmness and grace to your patient. Finally, it was no accident that the Enemy’s Spirit moved your patient to repentance on the spot and that he was then moved to discuss his depression and pornography use with his wife.

You were set up by the Enemy’s Spirit.

I told you that pastor was dangerous. He is so attuned to the Enemy that he often moved to do things in coordination with that blasted Spirit. I have put in another request to have him killed but it is expected that the Enemy will block that request yet again.

The only credit I give you in all of this is that he is still hiding his feelings for his secretary and lied to the staff about them. This is a hopeful sign in an otherwise dreadful year.

You see, confession in one area causes humility and that humility can creep throughout your patient’s life into other areas. He may feel like he should confess to his wife that he is fantasizing about other women. That would be a disaster. Don’t let that happen.

So he will be meeting regularly with one of the other pastors for accountability and getting separate counseling. You need to be prepared for this. Both can be dangerous but can be managed with appropriate preparation.

First, you must make him cling to his sin. Remind him of how good it feels and how much he would hate to lose it. Minimize its impact on him.

Second, continuously remind him of the great lies that we have impregnated the broader culture with “Nobody is getting hurt” and “It’s just looking” and “It is none of their business.” Inflame his sense of independence so that he feels no need for other vermin.

Third, encourage little lies to his wife, family, and friend. Even unrelated lies. He needs to have lied recently to others to encourage him to “not tell the whole truth” when it comes time to talk with the other pastor and counselor. Your goal will be to make his sin, “No big deal.” Because you are dealing with someone who went to seminary, it won’t do to simply use common cultural lies. So the Christian Western Culture department has created christian versions of them.

“Judge not lest you be judged” is a wonderful one because it is actually quoting the Enemy’s Book. Sure it’s perverting the meaning, but that makes it all the more satisfying. Make sure that any mention of his sin is “judging” and that anything but praise is “not being accepted.” Another good option is to use the word “legalistic” for anything sinful. We have pushed it to the point that even naming a sin can be “legalistic” and “not about grace.”

One caution about causing your patient pain right now. The Enemy’s Spirit is excellent at taking pain and using it to show your patient that he needs to depend on the Enemy. Suffering is wonderful, but it is also handing our Enemy a weapon to use against us. What you want is complacency and that does not happen when your patient is suffering. Make him comfortable Mudpot, very comfortable.

Finally, be careful as you read these options because you can become overconfident. The Enemy’s Spirit is smarter than you, stronger than you, better informed that you, craftier than you, and he loves to play with us. It is truly sickening.

Be afraid of him.

-Count Vicegrim

Image created by Cavin and used with permission

Entitled to Nothing, Given Everything

man-prayingOn October 5, 2007 at 2 AM, I was afraid. Sitting in a car in Fridley, MN I prayed.

“Lord, don’t take my son. Please, don’t take my son.”

My wife was 28 weeks pregnant. We were in a strange city on a very stormy night. My wife is in labor and my son is in serious danger. 28 weeks is way too early. I didn’t know the exact risks, but I knew they were serious.

Sitting in the car and soaked with the pouring rain, I looked toward the upper floors of Unity Hospital. My wife was there and I was sure she was scared. What can I do to support her? If I were in some movie I would promise that everything would be just fine. But she and I both know that I have no power to keep that promise.

I got out of the car and ran through the rain. Hurrying back to the floor, we met with the obstetrician who was working that night. he explained that the baby was coming and that he was quite premature.

“Tell me the worst case scenario” I said.

“Well, the blood vessels in his brain are fragile and when he is delivered, if any of them were to burst, he could have serious brain damage.”

Oddly, it was good to know what the worst was.

Unity Hospital was not equipped to deal with a child that premature so they asked for Children’s Hospital to send an ambulance so that the baby could be sent to Children’s right away. Unfortunately, the ambulance was busy on another call. The staff slowed Sam’s labor in the hopes of putting off the delivery until they arrived.

It was over two hours before they arrived and Sam was allowed to labor. shortly thereafter, at 4:57 AM, my son was born. He let out a loud cry which to this day brings tears. He was gently put into what I call the Baby Baker (an incubator on a stretcher) and was whisked away to Children’s hospital.

We named him Chase after me. He was Charles Gruver IV.

I tell this story to ask a question: Does God owe me Chase?

We heard lines like “God wouldn’t let him die” and “just believe that he will be fine.” These were meant to be comforting, but they weren’t. We knew that throughout the Bible God not only allowed terrible things to happen, sometimes he commanded them. God could have stopped Herod from killing every child under two in Bethlehem, but he didn’t.

The fact is, terrible things happen to believers and to their children. God does not spare his children from suffering, even awful suffering. I recently was reading on the Holocaust and there is a picture of a Hungarian Jewish mother walking with her two young sons on their way to the gas chamber. Was God wronging them? He could have saved them from the gas chamber.

As heartwrenching as it is, the answer is that we are God’s and he can do with us as he pleases. That night, I knew that God could take my son and he would not be wrong to do so. Chase was not mine. He was God’s and I was begging for the privilege of caring for him.

Despite the months of fear, this story has a happy ending. Chase is alive and well today. God did grant my request and he spared my son. The happier ending is that Chase and I are believers, we will live with Jesus forever. One day he will not be simply my son, but a brother who will turn one million the same year I turn one million twenty-four.

As frightening as it is to know that God could take Chase at any time, it is also freeing. God is not random chance. If he takes Chase from me, he has a purpose. Far from being meaningless, God’s actions are deeply meaningful. That is full of meaning!

The heartbreak we feel should be felt. The pain in this world is because of sin but it is also in the hands of a Father who loves us. We are allowed to grieve, but we “may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” If God had taken Chase, it is in the end for my joy.

So brothers and sisters, do not hang onto your things, children, spouses, jobs, and friends as if God would wrong you if he took it away. That is a recipe for losing your faith when he does take it away. Instead give him everything. Know that it is his to start with and be thankful that he has let you enjoy them.

The strange part is that when I give them up, I am more thankful for them. Tonight is not just any night, it is one of the finite number of evenings I get to spend with my wife in this world. Maybe it is even the last one. How grateful I am for each one!

-Chip

Neutering the Clergy: Foreword by Count Vicegrim

OldBookGenerally, when a fellow Demon of Rank asks me to write in their book, I am reluctant. A demon of my caliber only has time for so many requests while attending my other duties. Many times they are simply looking to add my prestigious reputation to their mediocre work.

So when Lord Blackmist asked me to read his work, I suspected such a request was coming. Much to my surprise, Neutering the Clergy is the most helpful work on taming the pastor problem that I have ever read. Lord Blackmist’s insightful mind and entertaining writing style is really only surpassed by my own.

What I think is most helpful in Neutering the Clergy is his emphasis on the five Anything Buts. Many a demon has been nearsighted in their focus on the sins that they prefer causing in their patients. Lord Blackmist’s focus on the Anything Buts will encourage every demon to simply avoid the Enemy.

It is so easy to forget that the goal is not necessarily to get your patient to sin, but to get them to the brink of Hell and shove them in. The Anything Buts assist us greatly in this endeavor. This is not just a book for the demon of a pastor, it is a book for all tempters everywhere.

If I may steal a little of Lord Blackmist’s thunder, I shall briefly review them.

Anything but the Enemy’s Book

This may seem elementary, but how many demons forget it. With phrases throughout the world that reference back to the Enemy’s book, we need to be vigilant. Phrases like, “Carry your cross” and “God is good” seem harmless enough, but may spark the curiosity of a listener. Even phrases we have entirely co opted like “judge not lest ye be judged” are used for our purposes but carry the real risk of being used by the Enemy’s Spirit.

Even television isn’t wholly safe for us. I was watching an American Football game recently for an academic paper on idolatry when suddenly I see a banner that says, “John 3:16.” Even these insignificant pushes could encourage your patient toward the Enemy. Your vigilance is of utmost importance. Get your patient to go to Anything But the Enemy’s book.

Anything but Faith

Of course I mean faith in the Enemy’s Son. Surely it should be easy to keep your patient away from information about the Enemy which would keep them from ever finding faith. It is not so easy. The vermin have this drive built into them to seek the Enemy. The constant needs their bodies experience that once satisfied, must again be filled. These endless needs point to an endless source. It is one of our most difficult challenges to fill those drives with Anything But faith. The work we have to do to keep them distracted from that gnawing hole in their souls.

Lord Blackmist does a great job of encouraging flexibility. Many a demon is looking to create some crippling addiction that will consume their patient. It is well and good when this works, but most of the time we need to allow them to drift from one distraction to another. This is the difference between success and failure. You will need to learn and practice not only stamping out faith, but stamping our anything that looks like it might resemble faith.

Anything but Grace

If the endless access to faith creating needs were not burdensome enough, the endless supply of his grace filling joys is stunning. The ridiculous supply of needed things like food, clothing, and shelter for those vile creature is enough to drive demon mad. That same supply of fulfillments for their needs is always working against us.

The Grand Canyon, stars, galaxies, trees, rocks, flowers, oceans, life, children, athletes, heroes, hurricanes, peaceful breezes, and a host of other created things all constantly point to a loving creator. The Enemy has really stacked the deck against us. Not only is there that gap in their souls but there is also an endless sea of arrows pointing to the Enemy.

The solution, as Lord Blackmist points out, is self-sufficiency. We need to convince the vermin that there is an endless sea of needs and they are the source to fill them. Of course we know this is patently absurd, but they believe it many times and we need to use that belief. If they want to believe that they are as strong as the Enemy, let them.

Anything but the Enemy’s Son

I remember the day very clearly. I was a younger tempter then, working far from Israel. It was a good time to be a demon. A young page named Wormwood came to me breathlessly with news from the Great Lord. He said that the Enemy had become a human.

I actually nearly stabbed Wormwood through for blasphemy against the spirit world. What vile nonsense? Not even the Enemy would drop to a ploy that base, that foolish. It was only on reading the letter signed by the Great Lord himself that I believed. To this day, I am stunned.

What spirit would ever wish to become that crude meat? The Enemy’s purposes in this are still ambiguous. Surely he has some very subtle ploy he is working out. I have suspected that maybe he pretended to be a person somehow that even fooled us. But I saw him myself. The magnificent and frightening power of the Enemy, wrapped in filthy skin.

While we stand in disbelief, the vermin themselves yawn. It has been effective for centuries to make the Enemy’s son a thing of boredom. While it is delightful to have them speak of him to no effect, it is far better that no one speaks of him. For those of you in the Western World, this is easier. We have made it rude to mention him in most settings. But we need to stamp out any reference to him at all. I don’t simply mean that no one should even use his name in vain. I mean no one uses his name AT ALL!

Victory can be achieved if they want Anything But the Enemy’s son.

Anything but the Enemy’s Glory

Even when we have completely lost, when the vermin turn to the Enemy’s son and believe in him, we still have some hope of neutering them. The Enemy’s Spirit in them will drive them toward slavery to him (albeit, a joyful slavery). We need to sabotage this at every turn. The key place to do this is to represent the Enemy as different than he presents himself.

You see, we don’t really know why he has done so much for the vermin in the world. Obviously, he can’t love them. Every spirit with any sense knows that they are grotesque. But we have been unable to discern his true intent. It is a mystery that the Lowerarchy has struggled with for millenia.

But he does present himself as loving and kind to them which must be part of his deeper plot. In that case, we must present him as Anything But loving, kind, just, and patient. We can make him out to be distant and uncaring. We can present him as harsh and overbearing. Honestly, I don’t care. As long as he is presented and Anything But glorious.

There is an irony in this. We know he really doesn’t love them and thus we are truly exposing the Enemy’s lie to them. I am not often accused of presenting the truth to the vermin, but as long as it works against the Enemy, I can be for it. Even honesty.

Really, we are still lying to them because we don’t know what his motives are. I take comfort in that anyway.

In Summary

While I have focused on the parts that apply to the average vermin, there is a wealth of useful information on how to corrupt even the most resilient of the Enemy’s servants. I even learned a thing or two from reading Neutering the Clergy and that is a high compliment indeed.

-Count Vicegrim

Same-Sex Attraction, the Uncool Sin

191141339_1380817739In the church, we can at times have cool sins and uncool sins. We often give a pass to the sins we like and heartily condemn the sins we don’t. This is even more apparent in the world of sexual sins. We will more often give a pass to a sexually active adult unless they are sexually active and gay. We act as though heterosexual sin is somehow less sinful that homosexual sin.

This difference reaches its tentacles into the world of pornography. The church will often look thoughtfully at a man who struggles with pornography but will be repulsed should he admit it is gay porn. Far from loving that man, we back away. He is a leper and we want to keep our distance.

We need to be very careful to keep the broader cultural debate about homosexuality from being a barrier to loving people. There is nothing mysterious about their sin. They, like all of us, are twisted by sin into desiring things that will harm them. Like us, they need a savior who will take away their sin. More than being like us, they ARE us.

There are many men and women walking in our churches today with a secret. They struggle with same-sex attraction. They feel that there is no home for them in the church. This is tragic. That is the hospital turning away the sick. That is the food shelf turning away the hungry.

There is an excellent article by a courageous man named Nick Roen called An Alternative Script to Same Sex Attraction. He argues that the men and women who have same-sex attraction need the community of the church (and certainly not to be treated as lepers). His willingness to step out and discuss this is exceptional. Most of us are not so brave.

There are not cool sins or cool sinners. There are only very broken fools who shake their fists at God and demand their own way. There are only two types of people in the world: bad people and Jesus. Let’s not get caught up in whose sin is the most vile and love people where they are. Let’s confront heterosexual AND homosexual sin with grace and truth. We are not the healthy reaching the sick. We are the sick pointing to the doctor. Let’s make sure our hospital invites all sick people to come and meet the doctor.

-Chip

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 14, A Plea to Fathers

child_fearFor many (if not most) men who struggle with porn, the person who introduced them is not who you might think. It is not that group of boys mom always told us to stay away from. It isn’t that creepy guy on the street corner. It is most likely not even the internet.

It was dad.

Our dad’s didn’t mean to introduce us in most cases. It is often a boy finding his dad’s stash of porn. Sometimes it is that dad now thinks that since his son is thirteen, it is somehow OK to let him see nudity in a movie. We walk into the restroom and there he is, looking at porn.

Whatever our father’s intentions, we were exposed. Slowly the roots of this sin sunk deep into our hearts. Soon we were more deeply ensnared than our father’s ever dreamed.

Not only did they introduce us to porn, but they also lost all credibility with us. Dad looking at porn and he is strictly warning me not to look at porn. They failed to confess their own sin and in doing so, they taught us how to cover up our sin. The moment we needed them to stand strong for us and strongly tell us how dangerous this path is, they cannot. The would not.

Jesus had some very strong language for just such a situation.

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. (Luk 17:1-2 ESV)

Let the weight of that sink in. Let it pull on your neck. Imagine hurtling toward the water and a certain drowning. The water rushes over your face. In your fear, you forgot to take a deep breath before you went under the surface. You scream and the last air you will ever breath leaves your lungs. Sinking, you keep sinking. The terror of this moment fills your mind. There is a deep pressure and hunger in your chest, but no air to fill it. Your thinking gets fuzzy. You pass out. You die.

It would be better to do that than cause a little one to sin.

So now most of us are fathers. It’s our turn to carry this mantle and to set the path for our children. Are we doing any better? It seems that we are doing worse! Now instead of a magazine, they slip from their rooms late at night and watch us masturbate in the light of a computer screen. We are guiding them into hell.

Gentlemen, be afraid. This warning is for you. Those little hands and feet will do what you do, say what you say, look at what you look at. We can do better. Here are my thoughts on how to keep millstones off your neck.

Repent

Read my article How Do I Stop Looking at Porn and get the first steps of your repentance going. It is no good to your family if you can’t get a handle on your porn problem. Jesus has the grace you need. It really is a question of whether you will take it.

Tell Your Kids About Your Struggle With Porn

The way to struggle and not be a hypocrite is to be honest. When our fathers told us to avoid porn and kept looking at it themselves, they lost all credibility with us. The way to get it back is to tell them how much pain it has caused you. Have your wife sit with you. Let her talk about how much this has hurt her as well. If you let your kids see the pain that this has caused, you set for them a deep and powerful warning of this danger. You will have served them well.

But When Do I Tell Them?

This is difficult, but here are some good rules of thumb. The average Western child is exposed to porn at age eleven so I think you really should have this conversation by age eleven if not sooner. If your kid is thirteen, he is most likely looking at porn already so this should be addressed. If he is fifteen or older, get up right now and talk with him. Your time is short and your son is an addict waiting to happen and your daughter has about a 1/4 chance of being one as well. Talk with them right away.

I know that this is a hard thing. It is humiliating. It is necessary. Have the courage to talk with them.

Tell Your Daughters Too

It may seem like this conversation is only important for your sons, but it is key to also have it with your daughters. She is going to run into men who struggle with porn in her life. She needs a good example of how someone fights their own pornography problem.

Dad, enter stage left.

If you set this good example, she will be much better equipped to see men and understand how they should be behaving. She’ll know because her dad showed her. This is key for her as she is selecting the most important man in her life, her husband. Guess what dad, he will have a porn problem at least 85% of the time. She needs to be ready for that.

The other reason your daughter needs to know is that there is about a 1/4 chance that she will struggle with pornography as well. You need to set a good example for her of how to deal with it. Please, please tell your daughters of your struggle.

Keep Talking About It

There is this myth out there that any discussion about sex is a single conversation. In reality, your kids will have many, many conversations about sex. The question is how many of them will be with you. Take a good look at your kid’s friends, are they the ones you want educating your son. I hope not.

This requires courage and conviction. Keep talking about sex, porn, sexting, and how it impacts their lives. I think there is a generation that is getting most of their sexual knowledge from the porn industry. We need to change that.

The Cross

Remember that none of us are up to this. You and I can’t carry this load. It is too heavy for us. We will fail. But God can succeed through us. Love your kids enough to have these conversations. You will find the strength to do that by looking hard and deep at the cross. See how much he did for you. He went through hell for you. He loved you so deeply that he willingly had nails driven through his hands and feet for you.

Now go and love your kids like that.

-Chip

P.S. I should be clear that I was not introduced to porn by my dad. I am the sort of sinner who doesn’t need help to find porn. So the content of this article has little to do with him. He taught me how to love a woman deeply, not how to stare at images of other women. 

HIV, The Porn Industry, and the Christian

Cameron Bay at a News Conference Discussing her recent HIV positive test

The porn industry in the Los Angelos area has a problem. There have been four HIV cases in the last two months and this has caused a halt to production in the much of the adult industry in the LA area. This is a big deal because the San Fernando Valley has a one billion dollar porn industry and it is costly to the producers of porn to have their sets shut down.

The story of trouble for LA County porn began in earnest when in 2012 the county voted to require condom use on porn sets. This was decried by the porn industry but in August and September of 2013, four porn actors and actresses were found to be HIV positive. One of those actresses is Cameron Bay (her stage name), who is pictured above. The question I want to ask is, how should the Christian feel about this?

To be clear, Ms. Bay was involving herself in some very risky behavior. HIV infections are rare in the porn industry due to mandatory testing every thirty days, But other STDs are very common. She repeatedly chose to expose herself to STDs and she caught the worst one of all. Not only did she get it, but so did her boyfriend who is also a porn actor.

But one of the big ideas throughout the New Testament is that we do not get what we deserve. She may have been foolish and caught HIV? I am foolish and have earned a place in Hell. The gospel is about how we don’t get what we deserve.

Jesus actually ran into a similar case once.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:3-11

He alone in all of the Universe is in a position to condemn this woman. She was caught and the law is clear. Thank God we have been set free from the law. You and I are toast if we need to uphold the law. Because we are forgiven, we should be gracious to Cameron Bay. Jesus saw no need to condemn her, neither should we.

So that leaves two things left for us to do for Cameron. First, she should have our compassion and not our judgement. We are no better than her and we were forgive. Second, we should hope and pray that she too could be forgiven by Jesus? Wouldn’t it be another wonderful confirmation of the ridiculous grace of God if she were redeemed as well.

Christian, we have no room to be harsh. Don’t wag your head judgmentally at the Cameron Bay’s of the world. Realize that but for the grace of a God, you would be far worse. God has been kind to us. May God be gracious and kind to Cameron Bay.

-Chip