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Archive for March, 2010

If you choose to get into this stuff, you might as well become a Meth or Crack addict; I minister to too many people bound up in it; it’s heartbreaking:  Here’s a research article from CBN News (link at the bottom):
WASHINGTON — A group of scholars, social scientists, and psychologists are sounding alarm bells that pornography is much more harmful to society than most people think.

The group recently revealed before the National Press Club startling new evidence of how widespread porn has become in the U.S.

For instance, take a look at these whopping stats:

* Americans rent 800 million pornographic videos every year – that’s one in five of all video rentals.

* Sixty-six of men ages 18 to 34 years old visit one or more of the 40,000-plus porn Web sites every month.

* One in four women worry their partner’s pornography habit is “out of control.”

* The porn industry spits out 11,000 new porn movies every year, far more than Hollywood’s annual output of 400 mainstream movies.

From Porn to Hard Core

The media impression is that porn is pretty much harmless, sexy, fun. But the experts gathered together by Princeton’s Witherspoon Institute, have a different view. A large portion of today’s porn is so much more hard-core now.

“This is definitely not your father’s pornography,” University of Virginia sociology professor Brad Wilcox said.

One research paper from the Witherspoon study, From Pornography to Porno to Porn, by Pamela Paul – said of today’s porn is far more violent.

“Particularly on the Internet, where much of pornography today is consumed, the type of sexuality depicted often has more to do with violence, extreme fetishes, and mutual degradation than with fun, much less with sexual or emotional connection,” Paul wrote.

“Harder and harder-core stuff, stuff that I cannot mention to you without blushing,” Hoover Institution researcher Mary Eberstadt described it.

These experts and researchers have concluded that pornography has begun a widespread warping in many Americans’ private lives.

Impact on Relationships

For instance, men consuming porn rate their partners much less attractive than do those who avoid porn. For many porn addicts, when it comes to a real partner, it renders them nearly impotent or much less satisfied with their partner.

“If they had to choose between an actual sex partner who is in the bed and waiting for them, and going online, they’d go online,” University of Pennsylvania psychologist Mary Anne Layden said of porn addicts she’s studied.

Couples where the man consumed high amounts of pornography reported much less satisfaction in the bedroom. Porn users cheat more and go to prostitutes more.

Discovering their men’s porn use has left many women feeling betrayed and distrustful. Almost three-fourths say it’s hurt their self-esteem.

“The marriage relationship is traumatically damaged and decreased in terms of the emotional intimacy, which is actually the cornerstone of the marriage,” Layden said.

It’s even causing divorces. A 2004 Elle/MSNBC.com poll indicated one out of four divorces had something to do with Internet pornography or online adult chat activity. And the rate has gone up since “it’s up something like 20 percent in the last five years,” Eberstadt said.

Addicts are now losing jobs because they couldn’t stop surfing porn on computers at work. More are suffering from depression and stress caused by porn addiction. More are spending less time with their children because of that addiction.

Paul, who is also the author of “Pornified,” has written about the porn addicts she interviewed.

“Pornography’s effects rippled out, touching all aspects of their existence,” she explained. “Their work days became interrupted, their hobbies were tossed aside, their family lives were disrupted. Some men even lost their jobs, their wives, and their children.”

Not Just a Man’s Problem

One 2004 poll found 41 percent of women had searched out or downloaded erotic materials, 13 percent had watched or taken part in a live sex Web cam.

“It is contaminating all our relationships between men and women that are sexual,” Layden said about porn’s effects.

Now children are getting exposed to these X-rated materials at younger and younger ages.

“The age when children are introduced to pornography has been reduced from 11 years down to nine years of age,” said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, author of “Children at Risk.”

It’s so widespread among teens, 65 percent of 16- and 17-year-old boys and 46 percent of 16- and 17-year-old girls admit they have friends who regularly download pornography. Research shows teen girls exposed to a high amount of porn have sex earlier, are more promiscuous, take more sexual risks, and engage in more anal and group sex. So do the boys.

“There are a number of reports about adolescents who have experimented first with pornography and then tried to do what they saw on the screen,” Eberstadt said. “Their sexual behavior is much riskier.”

Layden said study after study shows pornography is related to, “early sexual behavior, earlier pregnancy, the desire to get pregnant, more sexually transmitted diseases in these children.”

And those exposed for years want harder and harder material over time.

“They want more vivid, they want more obscene, they want more really crude images,” Crouse said.

Harder Porn = More Sexual Violence

The real-world effect of this? Those who work with sex abusers, like psychologist Layden does almost daily, find more and more that pornography is tied to sexual violence.

“After I’d done this work for about 10 years, I had a sudden realization that I hadn’t treated one case of sexual violence that didn’t involve pornography,” she recalled.

The latest research shows heavy users of violent pornography are:

■Six times more likely to rape
■83 percent of rapists and 67 percent of child molesters consume hard-core pornography at high rates
■A man using porn nearly doubles the odds he’ll sexually assault his partner.
All these numbers are likely to grow as the Internet now makes porn accessible 24 hours a day.

Some call Internet porn the new crack cocaine.

“Pornography is sexual junk food,” Layden said.

These scholars, researchers, psychologists and philosophers gathered by the Witherspoon Institute agree that in order to do something about it, society’s going to have to tackle pornography like it finally tackled and demonized smoking.

Layden summed it up, “These are problems, they’re causing damages, we need to treat them, and we as a society need to wake up!”

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2010/March/Sexual-Junk-Food-Porns-Degrading-Effects/?cpid=EU_DD_2010_89

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Modesty

Just wondering: Can modesty make a comeback in our society, or will Hollywood’s lure continue to hold sway? Modesty is more attractive…

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Maureen and I just visited an incredible single mom and her two sons on Sunday night for dinner; that visit, plus a request by one of my readers has led me to write today’s blog for single moms.

Let’s apply Ps. 68:5-6a to your situation:

Your God is:

v.5 “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.  6 God makes a home for the lonely.”

In applying this in a moment, let’s also think about how God reveals Himself as Israel’s “husband” in Hosea and how Jesus views us as His bride in Ephesians and in Revelation.

Now here is the application for you, dear single mom: perhaps at times you’ve called God your “husband,” but maybe not often enough (?).

My encouragement to you now is to indeed often refer to Him as your “husband.”

If He is a “father of the fatherless,” can He not also be to you a “husband” where there is no husband and a “Father” to your kids — if you simply ask — and continue to ask Him to do so?

Our heavenly Father is so tender-hearted toward those in need and He is that way toward you!

Invite Him into every corner of your life, your emotions, your finances, your hopes and your dreams. Invite Him to be the Father to your kids that they need.

If you do, and you do this consistently, will He not respond tenderly to you? I say He will, because He is faithful to His Word, to His promises, and to His precious daughters — like you!

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There is no such thing as unlimited freedom; the very idea is an illusion. No one is “free” to commit murder; in public print or media, no one is “free” to slander another without facing a lawsuit.

No one is “free” to jump off of a high building without dire consequences.

We do have limited freedom, however (the kind that makes us ironically most free); and when we use that limited freedom constructively, we find ourselves most free.

John Stott, in his book Between Two Worlds, writes, “The mind is free only under the authority of truth, and the will under the authority of righteousness” (56).

Scripture points us to truth; truth about Jesus; truth about ourselves; truth about the world we live in now and truth about the world to come.

It is in and through a personal relationship with the Author of truth that we find true freedom, for He has made it plain that He seeks only for our eternal best.

Why, then, would anyone hesitate for a moment to surrender to this One True God — who demonstrated His reality by raising Himself from the dead?

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In my devotional time this morning, I was greatly blessed by Ps. 66, especially vv.17-20:

17 I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.

18 If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear;

19 But certainly God has heard;
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer
Nor His lovingkindness from me.

I learned from this passage that it honors God when I pray (v.17) and I’m reminded that He makes prayer — conversation with Him — easy: all I need to do in order to be secure in Him and confident in His response to me is to make certain that I keep my heart clean through the gift of ongoing repentance of sin (v.18).

Having done that, vv.19-20 assure me not only of Him answering me, but of His awesome intimacy with me, seen in the word “lovingkindness,” which can also be translated “covenant loyalty,” “steadfast love,” “mercy,” “faithfulness,” or “devotion.”

How encouraging! For more on confidence with God in prayer, see 1 John 3:21-22; 5:14-15.

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I’m a blessed and grateful man today. Why do I say that? Because of God’s people: people who seek to be genuine, yet would be the first to admit they’re not perfect.

People who enjoy encouraging others; people who are humble; people who carry the fragrance of Christ with them.

I’ve been a Christian for 30 years now; sure I’ve been hurt and disappointed by other Christians — but that has been the exception and not the rule.

Instead, my life has been immeasurably blessed by fellow believers in Christ.

So I have a major problem with (mostly) Christian authors who think they have a corner on the market as to what’s wrong with the Church.  To make matters worse, they become popular for it and they profit financially by their writings.

Would you please go and get a life? Stop your whining and finger-pointing. Go share the gospel with someone instead.

Jesus loves His Church; His Word has enough corrections for us and the simple preaching of the gospel does as well.

I love the Church as well. Enough said.

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How much is God invested in your marriage? Seriously; think about the vows you made before Him; think about the ramifications of a growing, healthy marriage — insofar as it depends upon you.

Does your heavenly Father want to strengthen your marriage? You know He does! But what is your part and my part? In large part, it is to pray for our spouse.

So let me ask you a question: how much do you really pray for your marriage — every aspect of it? How much do you pray for your spouse? How much do you pray for your own attitude in the marriage you’re in?

I realize that some readers may have a spouse that is difficult or beyond difficult. But really, can God not change the hardest heart?

Do you ask Him to give you His heart for your spouse? Do you ask Him to help you to see your spouse the way He sees your spouse?

Do you ask Him to help you to listen to your spouse the way He would have you to listen to your spouse?

Do you realize that your spouse is not your enemy — but that Satan is — and that he and his demonic realm are behind so much of the strife, accusation and tension that you often experience?

If you do not pray for your spouse, you will easily, easily take offenses and hold onto them. The result will be that you will either explode at your spouse or you will implode and play the “cold shoulder.”

Friend, John Wesley wrote, “God does nothing on earth except in response to believing prayer.”

If God is invested in the success of your marriage, then please, please call on Him frequently; ask Him to teach you to pray for your spouse.

Will you be the better off — or the worse off — for doing so?

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