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For Men Only

Toward Godly manhood in a feminized world  
 
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. I Cor. 16:13 nas




 


Demythologizing Porn

 
 

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.    Gal. 6:1-3

 

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One of my original one-liners is, “Don’t expect me to write anything that can’t be misunderstood.” That will never be truer than in this case. However, here goes!

According to thefreedictionarty.com, “demythologize” means: 1) To rid of mythological elements in order to discover the underlying meaning; and 2) To remove the mysterious or mythical aspects from. This article addresses a myth about porn. The online source dictionary.reference.com says a myth is “an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution.”

Isn’t It Just Awful!
Christians like to identify certain sins as “awful.” They are the ones that we know we won’t be guilty of and thus we are qualified to judge those who are. Porn plays that role today. It is able to move non-users toward judgment and self-righteousness in a way that empowers them to overlook the Matt. 7:5 log in their own eye. Take a moment and think about the lowered eyes and hushed voices when passing the juicy news about someone “having a problem with pornography.”

One reason it’s hard for us to talk about porn appropriately is because it’s hard for us to talk about sex in general – even pure sex which, next to our relationship with God Himself is probably His greatest gift to man. We would do well to address both the gain and risk sides in an open and shameless way.

Regarding I Cor. 6:15 (12-20), yes, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. However, the strong warning there is in reference to adultery, that is, the physical joining of two bodies in sexual intercourse outside of marriage. They do not apply to porn or even to a man desiring to have a woman other than his wife. Junk food and anger violate the temple of the Holy Spirit too.

Certainly porn is an issue in the church. It clouds the good conscience of I Tim. 1:5 and Heb. 10:22. It can handicap a guy in making love with the woman he committed himself to for life as friend, lover and co-laborer. It can lead to more sinister sins such as adultery and even rape. And more.

However, that porn is a sin worthy of the church’s present attitude is a myth, “an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution.” Allowing that myth to empower us to overlook other sins is certainly as counterproductive to the church’s mission as porn itself.

The Feminized Church
I propose that the feminizing of both society and the church, which dismisses the virtues and the richness of masculinity, has opened a door for porn to become a venue for men to express and express their masculinity. It happens in two ways.

For one, the church has become feminized (See “Let the Men be Men”). This is partly because of our adjustment to the “lead” of our society in general, but also because of our attempt to be seeker friendly. There is little daring, challenge, risk taking, or call to a bold and assertive life that has high expectations. We have become so gentle and kind and inoffensive that we aren’t an environment that can legitimately call men to a high standard.

An authentic call to Godly manhood can only be given in the context in which masculinity is understood, respected and affirmed. A feminized church creates vulnerability for the pseudo-masculinity of porn.  

It is well known that TV programs routinely mock men who try to act like a man. A woman’s respect for her man is a big factor in turning him on to her. His strength and leadership give her security. She loves him for his daring and adventuresome (masculine) spirit. She knows that he is “visual” and attempts to keep herself attractive for him. She may not be a knockout at the beach, but there is something in his knowing that she tries, that speaks to him and draws him toward her.

It obviously goes both ways, that is, both the husband and wife need to understand and stimulate each other to love and good works, but the present, overall disparaging attitude toward masculinity is destructive.

Our greatest tools then, are to try to shame men by setting them aside as contaminated and/or disgusting, or to heap condemnation on them by declaring that porn is adultery – which it is not.

An Irreconcilable Judgment
The church’s standard for holiness in general is low, yet we feel qualified to judge those who are captured by weaknesses other than our own. When we read scriptures like Mark 7:21-23, why don’t we focus on the sins that handicap most of those in the pews, i.e. evil thoughts, greed, deceit, envy, slander, pride and foolishness? Isn’t it true that we prefer to spotlight “sexual immorality, adultery, and lustful desires?” – the latter of which by the way, can also apply to a car, boat or bank account.   

Yes, pornography is a dark evil, but the spiritual promiscuity that many practice even while they judge those who are not yet victorious over porn, is even darker. Most certainly, love for the world and the things of the world, which is expressly forbidden in I John 2:15-17, is as destructive in the overall life and witness of the church as porn, yet we don’t dare to address it. And doesn’t our absence of self control at the buffet, and our resultant protruding bellies, also prevent the invaluable “good conscience” previously mentioned?

To both the judges and the judged, “it’s time that we get real.” That we humble ourselves and acknowledge our commonality in the struggle with the flesh in the pursuit of being more like Jesus. That we confess our sins to each other (James 5:16) before we judge others; and practice mercy over judgment (James 2:13).

Practicing Gal. 6:1-3 in that context would do a lot to set the captives free regardless of our point of restraint. It would be part of authentic holiness – as opposed to simply claiming a theology of holiness – and it would transform the church. When will it begin?

 
This is #12 in the series "For Men Only" on www.john2031.com. © 2011 Ken Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 228, Kidron, OH 44636 USA. May be printed for personal use and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes without further permission if proper acknowledgment is given. Posted 4/2/11

 
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