i really need to stop looking at porn

It all starts with one click. Pretty soon you find yourself sucked into a portal with all kinds of images that only make you want to see more. One click leads to another site, and another and another and pretty soon you wonder- how did I get here?

I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile. Mostly because for the past few months I’ve been struggling with what I look at online- and it hasn’t been the fleshy variety of lusty contortions. Here are some examples of the porn I’ve been looking at. If it is going to cause you to have similar problems, I suggest you go read npr.com or something.

ikea.com, I must turn away....

who knew lowes.com had such tantalizing wallpaper?

apartmenttherapy.com- a barrage of supple armchairs.

This week I’m at a InterVarsity’s annual regional staff conference. Though I’m on sabbatical, Dave and I decided it would be a nice break for me to come to the conference, hang out with friends, rest, study and enjoy the childcare that is provided where Reuben is hanging out with lots of his friends. The topic of the conference is money & how materialism can be like an invisible venom that starts to poison our hearts. I’ve gone to a couple of the sessions to hear what Scott Bessenecker InterVarsity superhero and author of The New Friars,

and Ron Sider, author of a crazy amount of books most famously including:

have to say about the personal and systemic dynamics of money.  This topic has been especially germane because  in the process of moving into a new house I’ve been a little addicted to online browsing and fantasizing about how I’d like to furnish our new house.  In his talk, Scott shared with us that in looking at all the passages about scripture in the bible about money compared to the ones about sexuality- Jesus talked about what we do with our money 5x more than what we do with our bodies. Or as Scott put it; “Jesus is more concerned with what we do with our coins than what we do with our loins.”

I was thankful that in these talk both Scott and Ron encouraged us not to judge ourselves or others for what we have or don’t have, to look at our hearts and figure out how Jesus is inviting us to live generously, sacrificially and joyfully with people and the material world. For me, I realized that online shopping and browsing has become so damaging to my soul recently is because it breeds discontentment, ungratefulness, self-pity, and irresponsible behavior with money. St. Paul said “I have learned the secret of contentment, whether in plenty or in want…” he could go from having sumptuous feasts with the wealthy one day to being in prison the next and not eating for days…..and still be content.

I hope I don’t give the impression that I don’t enjoy life or think enjoying life is bad or unspiritual. I love putting together a beautiful outfit, sinking into a comfy chair or savoring a nice meal- in fact, I believe all of these things are spiritual choices of how we use, enjoy and share what God has given us. However, I want the kind of contentment in my life that is present regardless of if I hang up ikea curtains or not. Styles change, money comes and goes, kids destroy beautiful furniture but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Lord, help me to have the courage to live simply and generously- to enjoy what I have today and trust you with tomorrow!

oh madge, how do we enjoy and live generously in our material world?

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “i really need to stop looking at porn

  1. Okay, you sucked me in on this one with your provocative title. No, I did not think YOU were looking at porn, but I DID wonder how the title would fit in with whatever followed it! 🙂

    A similarly provocative statement is the one you quoted, that “Jesus is more concerned with what we do with our coins, than what we do with our loins.” Although I did not hear it in context, out of context it seems more thought-provoking than true. But it does remind me that we Christians have historically been under the dangerous illusion that he cares more about the loins than the coins.

    Frankly, I think that’s because no matter how fun it is to buy a nice pair of curtains, it’s nothing compared to a sizzling love affair. The same goes for fantasizing about illicit curtain purchases (!) compared to fantasizing about illicit sex. The pleasure is more tepid, there is no accompanying physical release, and therefore we feel less guilty about it. We are equally guilty, but we FEEL less guilt. Not a very safe place to be spiritually. As Lewis reminds us, the devil doesn’t care if we get tempted into hell by flashy, exciting sins or by boring, routine ones. The point is getting us there.

    Truly, it is hypocrisy to say, “Okay, God, I’ll destroy my sex idols, but I’ll keep the curtain ones,” and go on through life feeling spiritually superior to our friends who can’t seem to get rid of the sex ones. Christians from more conservative backgrounds may be more prone to this kind of hypocrisy, who knows? By all means, let’s get rid of it.

    But there is another hypocrisy, perhaps more common to Christians from liberal backgrounds like mine, and certainly quite popular where I live, which we need to avoid. It is the one that says, “God isn’t some kind of cosmic chaperon, tut-tutting about who is having sex with whom. What he really cares about is the poor and the oppressed.” The people who fall for it eventually reduce God to a cosmic Marxist, and ignore, condone, or actively participate in all kinds of sexual sin, feeling righteous as long as they vote for liberal politicians and give money to the poor.

    As I get older, I’m watching the pendulum of popular evangelical thought swing from the first error to the second. When I was in college, the main social issues people talked about in church were abortion, promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse and divorce. Now, thankfully, we are more concerned about materialism and racism. But I hope we won’t swing into the opposite error of not caring about abortion, promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse and divorce.

    By taking on the issue of sexual slavery at the OSU Invitational, IV was able to address all of these issues at once. It is an issue that shows how much God cares about the coins AND the loins, isn’t it? Because, ultimately, they are connected more closely than we realize. Kudos to the IV evangelists for recognizing this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s