When Is Public Indecency Acceptable? (Reblog)

girl_covering_eyesThis article by the wonderful blogger Cap Stewart is one of my favorites. It is reblogged with his permission. 

During a recent plane ride across the country, I looked up from my seat and encountered two people pretending to have sex—right out in the open. They didn’t act in the least bit ashamed or embarrassed. They weren’t completely naked, but discarded pieces of clothing were clearly visible.

A quick glance around the cabin revealed that some of the other passengers had seen the incident as well, but none of them were reacting to it. Some continued their business, while others seemed content to watch passively. No flight attendants intervened; no one protested. It was a surreal experience—one which provided me with an opportunity to apply God’s grace in fighting the temptation to lust in my own heart.

What happened after that? Well, the bedroom episode ended and the movie went on to another scene. Yes, it was “only” a movie. But does that relieve you at all? If so, something is dreadfully wrong.

There seems to be a huge disconnect between what is inappropriate in “real life” and what is inappropriate in front of a camera. We have laws against public indecency. But the same indecency, if put on film—where thousands or millions more might see, and which can be paused or replayed at any time—is suddenly socially acceptable.

You’re probably aware of the debauchery-infused performance of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at the Video Music Awards last week. It seems that most people, Christian and otherwise, agree on the impropriety of this VMA dance number. But my guess is that if that same dance routine was a scene in a movie, no one would have responded with such outrage. In fact, many Christians would likely have gone to see the movie—as long as it had some “redeemable” content, that is.

(click here to read the rest of the article at CapStewart.com)

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Count Vicegrim’s Letters: Chapter 2 The Slow Spiral

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The Demon Mudpot’s Annual Review regarding the Temptation of the Patient in His 16th Year

My Dearest Mudpot,

What a year this has been? Your success with the patient has been so thorough that even I am getting the attention of the High Lords. The Great Lord himself asked me about your progress and looked pleased at my report. If you were here, I’m sure they would speak with you as well, but I am willing to carry this burden for you in your absence. Someone has to go to parties around here.

No reason to beat around the vermin, let’s dig into your review.

The Better than Average

You have a real knack for arranging sexual deviance. How you have him looking at pornography daily and still his parents don’t suspect. it is simply a work of art. Vermin are so stupid. They are no smarter than the dirt they were made from. I must say I am envious of you being there to see him longing for those images every moment he doesn’t have them and then racing to every opportunity to look at them. You are doing a masterful job of slowly allowing sexual pleasure to prevent enjoyment of all other pleasures.

It is wise of you to avoid real sexual encounters for this patient yet. He can live under the illusion of “purity” because he has not exchanged human slime with a female. If you play your cards right, he could even have a sense of self-righteousness about his sexual restraint! In addition, this allows you to continue define sex by what he is looking at in those pictures. The more he separates sexuality from any real living vermin, the better.

One of the purposes of the sexuality of the vermin is to bond them to their “spouse.” We have a big advantage if we can use that process to bond them to images, then to fantasies, and finally get them hopelessly bonded to things that don’t exist. Let your imagination run wild for a moment, Mudpot. One day, if you do this right, your patient will long day and night for some sexual fantasy that can never be fulfilled. That is the sort of times a demon can really enjoy.

You have done quite well with his church attendance. As I did more research on his church I became concerned that the preaching might lead him to the Enemy’s Son. You can imagine my pleasure at reading how tuned out he is during the sermons. It really is amazing how those filthy creatures are able to hear words that would rescue them from us and they entirely ignore them. Despite your success, be vigilant. This is a area of concern.

I’m glad you were able to direct the patient to his father’s pornography supply in the home. This is an invaluable asset. Now, should his father discover what the patient is doing, he will have no credibility to correct it. It is also so helpful that the father hides it from the mother. That way we can be sure that he will be very uncomfortable talking about it with her as well. This is real teamwork between you and their demons.

Finally, the way you have fostered a sense of superiority in him is simply stunning. Our goal is always to bury them in shame and guilt or to make the feel superior to others, above the rules. Our preference is always to have them above the rules as this discourages them from ever seeking forgiveness (which the Enemy claims to offer).

Some Areas for Improvement

You are too cavalier about his association with that neighbor vermin. We have been working on the neighbor for years and have made only minimal inroads. That man is not to be underestimated. Keep you patient away from him. We have begun efforts to have that man hit by a car, but with no results. Be careful!

Your report indicates that you wish to be more eclectic in your temptations. I know it can be boring to keep hammering away at his sexuality at the expense of other delightful ways to play with him. Remember, the goal is always to keep the vermin away from the Enemy’s son! As much as it might feel like you are on offense, we must always work with the weaknesses the human presents to us. Consider it this way, after years of diminishing enjoyment of sexual pleasure, your patient can be brought to desperation. Then a whole buffet of delight is open to you. Think of the depression, anxiety, decimated relationships, and poverty. These, my dear Mudpot, can be yours. But only if you continue to capitalize on the weaknesses your patient actually has.

I know the temptation to wish you had a patient with certain weaknesses. I too miss a good flogging and a burning at the stake. The brutality of past days is sorely missing from these Western humans. Really, the only reliable place to find it in high concentrations today is in their abortion clinics. I promise you that if you press this weakness to it’s fullest potential, it will be worth your waiting. So for your patient, keep working with his weaknesses toward self-righteousness and sexual sins.

I am growing tired of your whining about the vigilance of the patient’s mother. If she is the worst difficulty you have, then you have been blessed by the Great Lord. Stop thinking in terms of how closely she watches and work this to your advantage. Work on your patient’s ego so that he does not see this as loving, but controlling. Try to have him make up some evil motive for this behavior. You are complaining to me and missing this opportunity.

One thing you need to start preparing for is this vermin’s college plans. I have compiled a list of the most favorable colleges. For your patient we will need to be careful that the college is respectable to pacify his parents but to also make sure that there is teaching that will make believing in the Enemy to look simplistic and stupid. Finally, there needs to be enough of a “party scene” to pull your patient in, but not so much that his parents might hear that reputation. If possible, try to get your vermin into one of the top four listed, they are the best for our purposes. The top listed college is ideal because it has Christian in the name and will serve our purposes and will leave your patient buried in debt by the time he finishes. A win in every respect!

Overall, this was a better than satisfactory year. Your patient is beginning a slow spiral that could end very well for us.

Your Affectionate Supervisor,

Count Vicegrim

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part and Commandment 10, Thou Shalt Not Covet

My Neighbor’s Ox (Which I am not Coveting)

When I start to read the Ten Commandments, I usually get bogged down with guilt before I get to number ten. No murders or anything, Just the first two are big ones. So when I read, Thou Shalt No Covet, my first thought is, “Great, I’m good there. Ummmm…what is covet?”

Because it made the big ten, I suppose I should know what it means. Dictionary.com is says that covet means:

1.to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others

2. to wish for, especially eagerly

3. to have an inordinate or wrongful desire.

Well, it is possible, maybe just once or twice, that I could have had an inordinate desire for something some time. Fortunately, I don’t need a website to clarify this. The commandment has specific things I am not supposed to covet.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house;

Well, I’m good there. No problems coveting houses.

 you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,

That one could be a problem. More on that later.

or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey,

I have committed a lot of sins in my life, but coveting my neighbor’s ox is not one of them.

or anything that is your neighbor’s. Exodus 20:17

Crap. That make this command much more difficult. I can’t ‘inordinately desire’ anything that belongs to my neighbor. In that case, I have coveted a lot.

The key focus for this blog would, of course, be the part of coveting your neighbor’s wife. At a minimum, this would cover a large number of women who are stripping themselves online. Many of them are married and God specifically said you should not desire to have them. For that matter, it would cover those ladies that you think would have been a better pick than your wife. Do not covet them.

The thrust of the commandment is the flip side of Paul’s instruction:

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-7

We are not called to simply not covet, we are called to be content with what we have.

So back to wives. This means that if your wife is short, you are into short women. Is she skinny? Then you like skinny. Maybe she’s more plump. Then plump is really what works for you. Is she 20? Then you are into 20. Is she 90? Nothing better than 90! Whatever your wife is, that is your preference. You are responsible to love her as she is and to not pursue anyone else. YOU ARE TO BE CONTENT WITH HER!

I can hear the objections now. “But Chip, you don’t know my wife. She’s a witch on wheels and looks like a toad.” If a toad is how she looks then you need to pray the grace of God that you start to like toads. It wasn’t my idea to tell you to be content. You could argue it out with Paul, but he’s dead. So maybe you should explain to God why you are exempt from being content with the wife you have. There is not an exception for you, but there is grace for you to live out this command.

I know this isn’t easy. All of us struggle with contentment. But consider the joy of being content. Imagine how it would feel to be happy with your wife’s looks and the things you have.

I mean it, imagine for a moment.

Doesn’t that sound great? You can be free of the gnawing desire for more and better! That’s why Paul calls contentment and godliness GREAT GAIN! You would be the wealthiest man alive if you were both godly and content.

So the battle for contentment is a key part of the battle for joy. This command is not a burden. It is God commanding that we be happy! What an ogre up in Heaven? Telling us to be happy. The nerve of him. Why if he really loved me he would give me what I want, not make me happy with what I have.

Such bickering is common in us men and it needs to end. Take a moment and be happy for the grace of God to you that is you wife. She is God’s gift to you. Be content with her and with what you have.

-Chip

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 6, The Rest of the Story

In the weeks since i wrote My Story more than one person who knows me well have had two responses. The first is to be very relieved when they find out that I am not in the throes of a terrible addiction. The other group has repeatedly said, “Chip, you need to let your readers know that you are overcoming this.”

This is my answer to both groups.

I supposed I should start where I left off in My Story. I joined that support group at Ebenezer Counseling in Knoxville, TN. That group of men were a real source of grace for me and taught me a key lesson I am still learning to this day: give grace and truth.

There is a movement out there that seems to believe that grace and truth are somehow opposites that need to be balanced. In my own recovery, I have found that they are complimentary, but only in the cross. Don’t choose between grace and truth. embrace both wholeheartedly. Tell the sinner they are sinning with no qualms but be sure to love them well when you say it.

But I digress. I attended that group for over a year. Most of my journey away from The Seven Lies I Believed happened in that time. Eventually Sam and i moved to Minnesota and started a family. I spent many months in MN having good success in resisting the call of pornography in my life. I still had Covenant Eyes on my computer and my accountability partners were still keeping up with me. But I was not part of a group and i really should have been.

So I crashed. You could describe me as a binge porn user. I tend to hold out for a while and then binge. Shortly after my crash my ever more sensitive conscience started to beat me. I decided to pursue a group in MN and made a few calls. I found a group and started attending.

It sucked.

I don’t mean to impugn the character of the men in that group. They were sincere and sincerely looking for hope. Hindsight helps me see it is not that the group was that bad, it was that I was spoiled. That group in Knoxville was exceptional. So I did the exact wrong thing. I quit. What i should have done was pursue another group. The Twin Cities are a large metropolitan area and I’m sure there was a good group available. I simply lacked the maturity to look farther.

Following this was a few months of no group support. i had limited success on my own but I was clearly not ready to survive in a tempting world. In God’s good grace, he didn’t make me find a group. He brought a group to me.

I attend Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis (North Campus for all you Bethlehemites out there). Sam and i decided that we would join one of the Bethlehem Small Groups. That group was very different from my Knoxville group. These men weren’t nearly as confrontational but also carried a taste of Heaven with them. I have come to truly care for and be cared for by those men.

There were certainly failures during the years with that small group, but they were few and short. I really feel like I grew up a great deal with those men. When I had my most recent failure that I mentioned in My Story. I wrote an e-mail to those men and Sam.

If I were to summarize my journey since that group in Knoxville, I would say that I have grown up a great deal. I was recently asked how I would rate my hope on a scale of 1-10. I said that i was at an 8. God is healing me and I feel certain that he will keep healing me. My journey has been one of looking at pornography every few hours to now looking every few months or years.

Recently, Pastor Jason Meyer has been preaching through 2 Corinthians and two verses have been very close to my heart recently.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 1 Cor 1:3-4

The comfort God has given me is this: He has shown me ridiculous mercy in my struggle with pornography. On pondering those verses for some time, I felt like I should start a blog where I chronicle my struggles and use it to comfort you with the comfort I have received.

And that is how God placed you in that chair reading these words right now.

-Chip

Up Next: Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 8, The Shame We Feel

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 5, My Husband is Looking at Porn, What Should I Do?

Feel-Trapped

It is easy to look at my own addiction and think of the person it is effecting most, ME!

Or is it me?

Maybe I am the perpetrator and my wife is the victim. She didn’t do anything wrong and yet she suffers for what I have done. She has to deal with the feelings of inadequacy: the question, “If I looked better, maybe he wouldn’t look at porn.” She is the one who feels the pressure to maintain the impossible body that Hollywood projects. She’s the one who feels in her heart that her husband’s straying mind means she isn’t worth much to him. Maybe even not worth much at all.

Yes, my wife was the real victim.

This article is for you, the real victims. The wives of the men who continue to look at pornography over your objections. I hope to offer you a little comfort, a little understanding, a little advice, and a little hope.

First off, your husband’s pornography problem is not your fault. He may blame you, but this is a darkness that lives in his heart. You are a victim of his behavior and it is OK to be hurt by his behavior. He owes you a serious and sincere apology for what he has done to you.

Second, no matter how good you looked, he would have this problem. I have known many men with beautiful wives who have profound pornography problems. I know this is very hard to believe: it feels so backwards. The most important man in your life who should be looking at you is instead looking to the photoshopped girls on the web. I want to say it loud and clear, Your are beautiful because God made you beautiful. The reason he is looking at other women is because HE IS A FOOL! God provided the grace to look at you and only you. Your husband has not taken God up on the offer.

Third and most importantly, Jesus loves you. He is your real husband. Jesus has eyes only for his Church and that is you. There is grace for you today. There is justice for what is being done to you.

So what do you do? Here are some practical things you can do to serve your husband and help him be free. Jesus has some guidelines as to how you should pursue this.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  Matthew 18:15-17

Let’s pay careful attention to Jesus and let Him do the work.

1. Pray for him.

Your husband is trapped. He may even want to do the right thing but sees no way out. The Holy Spirit is his only hope (and what an amazing hope He is). Pray for him. Tell God how much it hurts you and pray that he will set your husband free. A warning for you though, the grace of God for men like me is usually to beat us until we submit to Him. It is the rough hands of a loving Father.

2. Confront Him.

Confront him about his sin. Be gentle and firm, but most of all be firm. He is sinning against you and it is OK to press him to stop sinning against you.

It is important to know your husband as you approach him. Consider what would be effective in helping him be honest with you. Again, gentle and firm. Remember that he will need to take some actions to demonstrate his repentance. Maybe he can follow the steps in my article How do I stop looking at Porn. It is OK to point him to help and resources, but give him room to choose his own path. Usually, the first few times he is caught he will try to do it alone and it won’t work. Have patience with him.

There are two responses that warrant escalating the situation. The first is that he is defiant that it is OK for him to look at porn and that you should understand.  It’s time to move on to the next step.

The second response is more common in Christian communities which is to promise to stop looking at porn and then repeatedly fail AND fail to try getting support. If he simply will not join a group and keeps failing, treat that as him saying he won’t change. Then it is time to move onto the next step.

3. Confront Him with Support

Jesus was serious about bringing in a brother. If you know someone who has struggled with porn in the past and particularly someone who is involved in the recovery process, bring in that guy. Otherwise find someone you both know and trust and bring that man (probably not a good idea for this person to be a woman) with you to confront your husband. An elder or pastor from your church would be a good choice as well. If you have the option, find someone who is a straight shooter. Your husband needs things to be made crystal clear.

Confront your husband again. Your husband will react badly to this, so be prepared. This is scary for him, but redemptive. Reaffirm that you love him and that you want him to be free. Let the other man press him.

If your husband is defiant or passively not taking action after this meeting. Go to the next step.

4. Bring in the Elders of Your Church

Yes, you read that right. Your husband is in willful sin and is not pursuing overcoming that sin. He needs to be held accountable by the body of Christ. This is not God’s punishment of him. This is God’s grace to him. A loving Father is correcting his son. He uses his church and He is using you. Have the courage to love your husband like Jesus does.

Remember that loving your husband is to fight the sin in his life. This sin is a cancer eating out his soul. Love him enough to fight for him even when he won’t fight for himself. Bring in men who will press him hard and correct his foolishness. Love him enough.

5. Submit to the Church

Depending on how strong the leadership of your church is, this process may not be something they are ready for. Even if they handle the situation poorly, submit to their authority. God doesn’t require us to be right, just to be faithful. Your husband may talk his way out of it. Your pastors might turn out to be wimps.

Even if the church wimps out (which will be common), know that you have also shown your husband how seriously you take his sin. If he is a true believer, then the Holy Spirit in him will be beating him from the inside out.

Should the local church fail you, what then? Keep pressing on your husband firmly and gently. Keep pulling in men who can keep pressing your husband to repentance. Your faithfulness is the grace of God for your husband.

6. Find a Woman Who Has Gone through This

You are not alone. Look for a woman has had similar struggles. This is a messy business and you need support. She can be hard to find but keep looking for her. There is grace for you in walking with someone who has gone through what you are going through.

7. Have Hope

I can’t tell you how this will turn out. It may be that it all goes badly for you. Remember that your only true and lasting hope is in Jesus. Whatever the church does, be faithful to Jesus. Whatever your husband does, be faithful to Jesus. God has placed you here right now. He appointed this suffering for you and He loves you. Cling to Him and let’s watch together what He is going to do.

I want to say one more time that this is NOT YOUR FAULT. The preceding paragraphs could feel like it is your responsibility to change your husband. It is not. He is responsible to respond to the Holy Spirit and seek repentance. It is your job to be faithful to Jesus and love your husband enough to push him. There are no guarantees except that there is a loving Father watching you and giving you the grace you need to carry this heavy burden.

-Chip

Up Next: Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 6, The Rest of the Story

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 4, How do I stop looking at Porn?

what can i doThe story of an addict goes something like this. You find some porn. You seek out porn. You take risks to get more. Relationships and work start to suffer. Your conscience begins to pound hard on you. This thing that you can’t live without is making you MISERABLE!

Then you get caught. What you feared the most has happened. You promise this person (who is invariably your wife) that you will never do it again. You are resolved and certain of a porn free future…until the following night. You start secretly looking again. It gets worse and you are the same old addict you were before, but it is now it is crucial that you don’t get caught. The spiral continues.

You get caught again.

Now what do you do. The promises don’t work any more. Maybe you should try a new plan.

This story has been retold in millions of marriages. Some of the details change, but the plot is eerily similar. If you are in that place, there is hope for you. Are you ready to begin? Recovering is a painful journey, but IT IS WORTH IT!

1. Repent to God 

The person you have most offended is God. Imagine if you were married to the President’s daughter and were looking at nude pictures of his other daughter. That is what you just did to the God of the Universe. Remember that your confession to Him must be thorough, specific, and gutwrenching. He is angry about what you have done but He also loves you very, very much. There is forgiveness for you in repentance.

2. Tell your wife.

Now, I should note that this rule applies to everyone except you. You are the great exception to this one. Seriously, if I met your wife, I would give you a pass. She will be hurt and you really love her and wouldn’t want to see her hurt. You are just that kind of guy who loves your wife that much.

Or you are just a coward who is unwilling to confess what you have done to her.

I will concede that there may be exceptions to this rule. You aren’t one of them. You have sinned against her in a very personal way. She deserves to know as much as she wants to know. Jesus felt that lust was equivalent to adultery (Matthew 5:28) and she deserves to know. Man up and tell her.

Also, when you tell her. you are forbidden from blaming her for any of this. She may have refused sex to you for a decade but this is still your sin and she deserves an unqualified apology.

Pro Tip: One of the things no one ever tells you about confession is how much better you feel when it is over. You don’t know how much weight you are carrying until it falls off your shoulders. Trust me, there is a lot more joy there for you when you confess this to God and your wife!

3. Find and join a good recovery group.

If you were going to beat this on your own, why haven’t you already. Don’t lie to yourself! There is no amount of motivation that is going to get you to quit this destructive behavior without the support of a recovery group. Remember that the Church is believers working together to grow closer to Jesus, so a Christian recovery group is you harnessing the power of the body of Christ. Use it.

Let me phrase it another way. If there was a tool to help you recover from your addictive pornography problems, wouldn’t you be a fool to ignore it. If this was a pill you would take it. Swallow your pride and join a group. If that group is no good, find another one. Some groups aren’t any good. Keep searching until you find a helpful group of men to support you.

A good rule of thumb is that you confess to your wife but she is NOT part of your accountability. She has been through enough and should not be in the position of asking you how you are doing. You do the work and tell her how you are doing and some other guy can be the one who holds you accountable.

4. Get Covenant Eyes on your computer.

There is an excellent piece of software out there called Covenant Eyes. It is internet monitoring software that sends a scored list of the websites you listed to your accountability partners. It is pretty sensitive and will catch you if you visit pornography on that computer.

One objection I hear sometimes is, “But Chip, what about my privacy.”

The real question is whether you really want to give up porn or not. Without monitoring, it is very unlikely that you will be successful in your recovery. If you don’t want to do the hard steps to getting better, you won’t get better.

5. Be Encouraged

The reason you are reading this post is that you ARE doing something. You are learning how to recover from a life with pornography. Most men never get to the point of even looking for help. You may have a long way to go, but be encouraged that you are taking the first steps.

One final note. I have not mentioned the Christian disciplines. None of the above options will help you at all without practicing prayer, Bible reading, and regularly meeting with Christian brothers. You will only beat pleasure (pornography) with a stronger pleasure (knowing Jesus). This will be the topic of a later article and I will explore it more then. This article is the first aid. The Christian disciplines will be your path to good health.

Have hope. There is good reason to hope.

-Chip

Up Next:  My Husband Keeps Looking at Porn, What Should I Do?

Two Bloggers from the Hills of Tennessee

As a new blogger who is learning the ropes, I want to honor one of the people inspired me to start blogging in the first place. Cap Stewart is a friend from my childhood in East Tennessee. The last time I actually saw Cap was probably more than ten years ago.

So imagine my surprise when he puts out a blog post on his blog Happier Far and it is quite good. Now every blog gets a good post in once and a while, so I read another. This one was also very good.

Happier Far is the best blog that none of you have heard of. Cap does a good job of holding to scripture and giving some honest and unflattering accounts of his heart at work. I would go so far as to say if you must choose between my blog and his, read his.

Two of my favorite of Cap’s posts that give a good feel for his blog. When is Public Indecency Acceptable explains how he dealt with a couple taking most of their clothes off on a plane. You’ll be surprised at how often this happens.

Sex, Lies, and Star Trek is his journey as  a trekkie choosing NOT to see Star Trek: Into Darkness. Sometimes Jesus asks us to give up things, even Star Trek.

Thank you Cap for your blog and I hope my readers see what you have to offer.

-Chip