Category: Personal


Somebody’s Daughter

For those who have known me for a while, you have heard of my struggles with pornography.  It is something I have fought with since I was about 12 years old, encompassing now the majority of my life.

It may surprise people to hear that my faith in Christ Jesus is not what gives me the most pause in my struggles with pornography.  I know I am saved by Christ Jesus, and no matter how much I look at pornography and lust in my heart that will never change.  All my sins, past, present, and future are forgiven.  Yes I am adding sins to that cross, but nothing can take me out of the arms of Christ Jesus.  Indeed, this situation, my continued state of struggle in my saved state is one reason why I react so negatively against antinomianism, and why one of my greater theological interests is in the theology of sanctification.

But when it comes down to that, when I am depressed against my continued sin as it relates to my struggles with pornography, what helps me the most to turn away from that evil in my life is to remember that there is a person there behind that image.   Some say that pornography is a victimless vice.  Unlike drugs or alcohol, a person sitting at home looking at a magazine or a computer screen is not bothering anyone. Lets set aside the effect that person’s action has on the people around them, especially if they are married, have kids, are in a relationship, or frankly anyone in their live.  Rather let’s look at the person on the other side of the screen.

Statistics have regularly shown that significant portions of those involved in pornography (in particular the women involved), have some kind of traumatic experience in their past.  Emotional abuse yes, but more so physical abuse at the hands of someone, whether a family member or a stranger.  This trauma sends them into a self-deprecating spiral and into a “career” which only enforces those feelings of guilt they have for something that was never their fault to begin with.

Other women get involved, at least initially, to “pay the bills”, such as struggling actresses or models trying to make ends meet.  Once in, the very structure of the industry makes it almost impossible to leave voluntarily.  They become consumable objects based on the demand of those looking at the images in magazines or online.

It is a feel good lie that those who look at pornography sometimes tell themselves, that everything is always consensual.  There even are statements by the sites and magazines that tell us this is true.  Yet how do we know?  We don’t!  Indeed there are prostitutes in this country that are all but slaves to their “pimps”, who work the streets at the command of someone else, who have no say in the matter.  In many cases all pornography is, is the filming of these prostitute encounters.

But lets say that we can guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt that a particular website or magazine only has 100% consensual acts, that no women are coerced in anyway, and all are checked out by a psychiatrist to make sure they are not driven to this because of abuse in their past; that we can prove that that woman is doing this because they genuinely like doing pornography.  What then?

For me this comes down to one undeniable fact.  That woman is someone’s daughter; she is someone’s sister, someone’s mother, someone’s cousin, someone’s wife, and someone’s best friend.  I think how I would feel if 30 or so years in the future, after I have a family and the kids leave the house if I were to be looking at porn online and suddenly find myself looking at my own daughter!  The disgust at myself would be unbearable!  Even now, there have been times where women that I have seen on these websites have looked very much like girls I know.  Schoolmates, friends, even family.  And it bothers me!  It sickens me!  And I get worried, wondering if it really is them!  If everything is all right, or if there is some pain in their past that is driving them too this.

And then I think, does it really make a difference if I know the person or don’t?  I mean, why should my reaction be any different if I see someone I think I know (assuming it is just someone who looks like them), when those women actually have fathers, brothers, sons, cousins, friends, ect of their own!  Is it ok to look at images of other peoples daughters but not my own?  Indeed, I would not want people lusting after images of my daughter, sister, cousin, friend, even if I am not!  So why do I do it to the woman in other peoples lives?

They say that pornography is a victimless vice, but that could not be further from the truth.

God knows I have not always been good at this in the past.  If you were to poll those who knew me about my attributes, I would wager most would have some form of “hot blooded” near the top.  One of my favorite quotes is from Braveheart where Wallace says, “I’m going to go pick a fight!”  Yea, you get the picture.  That, is the (occasionally not so) old me.  I endeavor to get better.  Not getting rid of the passions that I have, but rather I strive to demonstrate civility, even with tough issues, in a manner similar to Christ.  As should we all.
For indeed it is hard to accomplish.  There are many issues of various natures that are very important.  Some of which others would judge us as hate filled for simply believing, beyond any of our actions.  I personally believe that homosexuality is a sin.  I a complementarian, and believe that women should not serve as pastor/elder in a church.  I believe what is known as the Word of Faith movement is directly inspired by and lead by Satan.  I also believe state sponsored socialism (aka Communism) is demonic as well.  There are many more that I could list.  And in most of these, when I say that I believe in them, those listening quickly label me as someone who hates.

Indeed a post-modernism breeds this response.  If everyone is right in their own way, than it is wrong to judge other’s for their beliefs and actions.  Never mind that the whole construction of that argument is hypocritical, it is a reality that we deal with today anytime we open our mouths.  Someone usually will not like what we say, regardless of the issue.

Jesus and the New Testament warn us that this will be the case.  That no matter how nice we are, people will hate us for presenting Christ Jesus as savior.  That is a reality we cannot avoid.  It is a reality that transfers in to other areas and issues that we may express our opinion on.  However, and here is the key, we should not throw out civility just because there are some who will always reject us.

I believe that we can express certain opinions, some of which may be exclude other views (like the belief homosexuality is a sin), yet be civil about it.  Again, we know that some views may not be received with civility, but that should not change the way we act.  For everything we do and say should be flowing out of Christ’s love in us.  Christ Jesus ate with the sinners; He regularly interacted with those who were completely and spectacularly wrong about everything.  The same goes for Paul going and interacting with pagans and unbelieving Jews.  We should strive to demonstrate the same love, care, and compassion in our actions, in our speech, that Christ Jesus our savior did.  Of course we will never reach that level of responsibility for our words/actions, so long as we are tied to this sinful flesh, but that still should be our goal.

Now you might say, “What about Jesus’s words calling Pharisees vipers! Or Paul’s use of garbage/refuge!”  Indeed, I do not deny that even Jesus and Paul used strong aggressive language against others.  But here are some things to consider.  First, we are not Jesus and Paul.  They had (have) authority that we never will.  Jesus walked on water, but we never will.  Second, looking at all of the words of Jesus and Paul, their “aggressive” statements against others are infrequent.  Indeed, there are appropriate times when such statements are necessary against those who oppose us and our views.  But those times are few and far between.  They should be reserved for the most dire of situations, in places where they would have the most effect.  If not, than they become nothing more than a intellectual version of Chicken Little.  If we are always being aggressively confrontational with others, we risk alienating the larger pool of listeners, so when something of clear and great importance arises, no body will still be listening.  Aggressive confrontations are sometimes necessary but should be kept rare.

But again, that does not mean we stop with what we are saying in the first place.  That does not mean we stop calling sin for what it is, sin!  It comes back to how we handle ourselves, our actions, and our speech.  One can call out a sinner in a civil matter.  One does not need to be aggressive with everything.

Once again, I know, more than maybe anyone else under God, that I have not always achieved what I speak of here.  I usually am good at the “Do as I say, not as I do!”  But I do strive to be better, to conduct myself better, to do it in a manner worthy of Christ Jesus who is the Lord of my life.  I will not always succeed, indeed not one of us will, but that does not excuse our lack of trying.

I have tried blogging before.  Prior efforts were merely passing fads, desperate pleas for attention and fame.  Is this time any different?  I would be dishonest if I said no with resolve.  However, it is my hope that this time will be different.

People have complained in the past that they dont like my rants, my thoughts, my opinions.  Not necessarily because they disagree but rather because of the method and nature in which I presented them.  Here, in this blog, I can present my views and feelings on a variety of topics and let people who are interested read and participate.  Those who do not wish to do so then are free to ignore anything and everything I say here, and remain in blissful ignorance of my thoughts.  Ultimately then, it is up to you the reader to decide if you wish to inflict upon yourself the delightful pain that is my thoughts.

This blog will reflect my opinions on matters of history, politics, and theology/religion.  Sometimes I may post several thoughts a day, and other times I could go weeks without a peep.  It is my intention though to eventually reach a point where thoughts are on a daily basis.

With that I ask that you pray for me in this endeavor.  Pray that in all my thoughts, ramblings, and rants, I keep the focus on Christ Jesus first and foremost in my life.  And that whatever appears here may positively reflect on myself and who I am, even when there may be disagreements with what you read and what I have said.

– Stephen