News & Notes This Week

A Pastor’s Struggle With Sex and Porn Addiction (Huffington Post)
Sex addiction experts meet in S.A. (KSAT News)
ADDICTED: Aussie porn addicts watch porn ‘five hours a day’ (Herald Sun)
Parenting styles often colored by our own childhoods (Washington Post)
‘Sexting’ teens more likely to have actual sex, according to study (Deseret News)
Human trafficking discussion warns, ‘It does happen here’ (The Gazette)
Florida man convicted of sex trafficking for pimping 14-year-old girl in New Orleans area (The Times-Picayune)
The ‘Butner Study’ Redux: A Report of the Incidence of Hands-on Child Victimization by Child Pornography Offenders (CA K.I.D.S Coalition)
Economics 101: Porn creates demand, trafficking supplies the product (Baptist Standard)

Fighting For Marriage

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/28898383 w=600&h=325]

In this inspiring four-minute video by Elevation Church, pureHOPE Charlotte Advisory Board members Chris and Sandra Pollard share their journey from bondage, betrayal, and distrust to hope, healing, and intimacy.  Their story highlights the abundance of grace and mercy that God readily pours out upon couples who, like the Pollards, choose prayer, repentance, forgiveness, and resolve to fight for their marriage instead of just fighting in their marriage.

“It took getting me into all those closets, and into all those things that I had hidden, and just exposing them to the light of the Lord.”  Chris Pollard

See Also:

Sex and Shades of Grey – Part II

by Maria Marballi

I do believe that the Lord has this particular faction of young women on His heart: the abused turned prostitute.  When the gift of sex is broken in a young child, the image of sex polarizes from holy, to unholy: from beauty to evil, from pleasure to pain.  The image is tarnished, as they become victims of incest and abuse, each sitting solitarily in their rooms praying for the memories to magically disappear- for innocence to be restored.  Hands over their head, buried between their knees against the cold floor.  This is where many prostitutes begin their journey.

It’s grim to try and understand why exactly the abused return to a life of sexual entrapment, but we do know what God has to say.  “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).  And those that cause His little ones to stumble, often times stumbled themselves into the trap that dulls the mind like a drug: pornography.  It first appears a “small sin,” a mild impediment on the journey towards eternal life, however, slowly becomes an increasingly lofty barrier that grows superior with each opened window browser.  Some stories progress as an addiction obligated to be fed: an easy feat nowadays, I might add.  As the addicted stand before the mountain of compiled digitalized sexual experiences, they need more; they need the real thing.  Now what?

One in every three girls and one in every six boys are sexually abused by the time they blow out their eighteenth candle.  I am not one to provide a hard-fast rule on the progression from pornography viewer to abuser- however the viewing of such material creates an insatiable appetite that causes some to reach into the screen and grasp the experience only to place it on the obligatory shoulders of a child.  This is not to say that porn viewers become abusers, but rather that pedophiles have a history of viewing pornography more often than not- and my purpose is to understand the transition from bad to worse and how the worse manifests itself in the victim.

Continue reading

Transformation Through Our Mighty Fortress

by Dave Brown

Our sexualized culture produces many landmines that can shatter our lives.  In the 21st century, technology’s global influence is unparalleled.  It is disturbing that while Christians are to be salt and light to a “lost and dying world,” it’s the world that is doing the influencing, and undergirding and empowering the world’s influence are the very forces of hell itself.  There is an unholy array of sexual snares for any human being, believer or not.  A snare in many cases becomes more than just a passing curiosity or shameful encounter with pornography or some other moral wrong; it becomes enslavement (II Peter 2:19).  It becomes an addiction.

Thankfully, God is our “Mighty Fortress” and our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer and King.  As one line of Praise My Soul the King of Heaven says, “Father-like He tends and spares us, well our feeble frame He knows.”  By His grace we can overcome these and other sinful patterns as we live lives of “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).  Another verse says that “they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives, even unto death” (Revelation 12:11).  If you are not familiar with John Bunyan’s classic book Pilgrim’s Progress, it is highly recommended.  Like Pilgrim, Faithful, and Hopeful, we too need the Lord’s shepherds to guide us.  Their names were Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere.

From a Christian perspective, overcoming addiction is largely about experiencing an authentic and deepening relationship with God Who through faith in Christ becomes our Heavenly Father (John 1:12, Colossians 2:6-7).  After this, though there is a war with our flesh throughout life; the indwelling Holy Spirit enables the defeat of any bondage, sin, oppression, or idolatry as we trust, obey, pray, and persevere in humble fellowship (Hebrews 10:25) with others.  The overthrow of addiction is also about facing truth in the “inward being” (Psalm 51:6), and healing pain or trauma from early abuse, deprivation, or neglect.  This is often done in a support group as well as individual counseling with a pastor or therapist trained in sexual addiction.  The fellowship, discipline, and care of the church are certainly a vital part of one’s healing and discipleship journey.

Again, restoration and “recovery” are not just “behavioral modifications,” though certain compulsive sexual behaviors must stop.  It is heart-level transformation and renewing of the mind that is most essential.  “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with God and one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7).  Indeed, in Him we have a hope that will not disappoint (Romans 5:5) as the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

Dave Brown serves as pureHOPE’s Director of Counseling and Support.  He is a licensed social worker, and earned his M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and his MSW from Loyola University in Chicago.  Dave can be reached directly at dbrown@purehope.net.

United States of Addiction

According to a recent book review by The Economist, our society is “porn-crazed, bingeing, gambling, pill-popping, fiddling incessantly with gadgets,” and facing an “epidemic of addiction” because “modern humanity faces temptations that it is ill-equipped to resist.”

An article by Dr. Philip Zimbardo on CNN describes how “arousal addictions” to online porn and video games are creating a generation of men unable to function in the real world and ultimately to “the demise of guys” (view his TEDTalk on this).

And this blog post claims that perhaps 80% of applicants to the International Mission Board, SBC have a porn history that in many cases slows down or ends their application process.

What to do?  For starters, the church must openly, honestly, and frequently preach and teach about subjects like addiction, porn, and the isolation inherent to modern life.  It must explain and equip people to understand how those subjects subvert God’s design for sex, relationships, and community, which are fundamental to a loving, authentic, and robust Christian life that glorifies God.

To that end, there are many excellent resources available (and more appearing all the time) discussing the issue of addiction, recovery, and healing through God’s grace and mercy.  Here are two books we recommend that are particularly helpful in understanding sexual addiction from both a neurological and biblical perspective: Continue reading

Documenting Hope

As the injustices of pornography and sex trafficking increase, more individuals are engaging in action to combat them and raise awareness, including many talented artists and filmmakers across the world.  The pureHOPE team has had the privilege of connecting with several such projects over the past few years, and below are three documentary projects currently in production that we believe are worthy of not only your viewership, but your prayer and even financial support as well. Continue reading

Laura Gallier Describes Your Brain on Porn

Author, speaker, and pureHOPE friend Laura Gallier is committed to equipping parents and inspiring young people to pursue a lifetime of purity and integrity.  Her books and DVDs are excellent resources for families and youth groups to implement and spur dialogue on the issue of sexual purity.

In this blog post, Laura takes on and debunks the myth that viewing porn is a harmless activity.  Aside from contributing to the exploitation of women and girls trafficked into the sex industry (see here and here for more on that), porn has devastating effects on the consumer.  Click here to read Laura’s post on three ways porn harms your brain…not to mention your heart, your soul, your relationships, your pocketbook, etc.