Thinking Out Loud

April 8, 2016

You Have This Moment

The Set Free Summit taking place in North Carolina wrapped up last night. For an overview of what you/we missed, check out the hashtag #SetFree2016. We’ve devoted three of the five weekday posts here to this one topic, but when I started scrolling through old posts here and discovered the one I re-posted yesterday, I was also reminded of this one.

– = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = –

With the kids now older and facing high-school homework after supper instead of the early bedtimes of former years, Patricia donned an light jacket before heading out for her weekly Wednesday night coffee shop ritual with Julie and Deanne. Well, almost weekly; there were frequent cancellations in the past three years, but they tried to meet as frequently as possible.

“So when are we leaving?” her husband Rick asked.

“What do you mean we?” she responded.

“I thought it might be fun to crash your little group; as an observer or like those war reporters who are embedded with a platoon. Unless, of course it’s me you talk about every week.”

“No, we tend to talk about church, and politics, and raising kids.”

“So is there room for an extra body?”

“You’re serious?”

“Absolutely.”

Patricia texted the other two, “What do u feel about Rick joining us 2night?”

Julie didn’t answer, but Deanne texted, “Sure Y not?”

And so for an hour, Rick sat with the women and talked about church, and politics and raising kids.

On the way home, Patricia said, “You’re not going to want to do this every week are you?”

“No; it was a one-off thing.”

“So Rick, I know you, what was this about really?”

“Honestly?”

“Yeah.”

“Honestly? I didn’t want to be home for a full hour with the computer. When you go out, it never ends well.”

– = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = –

Isn’t it ironic that the very technology that offers you the option of reading Christian blogs like this one, downloading sermons, looking up Bible verses online, etc., also offers both men and women the ease and convenience of experiencing sexual temptation like we’ve never known before.

Knowing as I do the various search terms that will find you all manner of websites, I can honestly say that every time I approach the machine — and I do business online all day long, plus prepare three blogs — I am reminded that each visit represents a choice: Choose things that will strengthen spiritually, or choose things that will do spiritual harm.

Like the goaltender in a hockey game, we can’t always block every “thought shot” that is fired toward us, but I believe we can exercise self control on a minute-by-minute or even second-by-second basis. I am always reminded that:

You have this moment.

You may not have won an hour ago, and you might slip an hour from now, but you have this moment to make the individual choice that affects this moment.

Right now, it’s a rainy day as I type this. It was a weather cancellation nearly a decade ago that found me with idle time typing a random phrase into a search engine that led to a random chapter in the middle of an online erotic novel. That’s right, it was text, not pictures. It wasn’t pictures for quite some time.

Idle hands. The entire universe-wide-web at my disposal.

Even today, I admit that search engines permit all manner of random thoughts to be explored online with varying results. I often find myself like the guy who loves to join his buddies on fishing expeditions, but actually hates the taste of fish. It’s about finding the fish, but not necessarily enjoying or consuming the fish.

I suppose it’s different for everyone.

– = – = – = – = – = – = – = – = –

I think it’s interesting that Genesis 2:9 tells us that the original source of temptation — the fruit of a tree in Eden — was found in the middle of the garden. Not off to one side. Not hidden behind other trees.

In the middle.

For men men — and women — reading this, your tree is right in the middle of the family room or living room; or it’s a laptop that is in the middle of wherever you find yourself.

Maybe your tree and my tree are different, but the result is the same: Temptation never disappears.

I looked at this a different way in a devotional at Christianity 201. There’s a link to a song, and a specific point (about 70 seconds) in the song you can fast-forward to.

I’ve found it to be helpful.

Feel free to share what works for you.

You have this moment.

Advertisements

April 5, 2016

Set Free Summit: Confronting The Porn Problem

Josh McDowell - Set Free Summit 2016

…While doing research for one of my books on addictive behavior, I conducted a telephone interview with a leading expert in the field of sexual addictions. He told me, “I believe evangelical Christians have a greater tendency to fall into sexual addictions than any other sub-culture in the United States.”

When I asked him why, he said, “Because sexual sins are so taboo in the church people find them more exciting. Once they commit a taboo sexual act, they refuse to tell anyone. Their belief that they have done something bad creates guilt which leads to shame. This shame generates pain which they try to medicate with more sexually taboo activity. The deeper they fall into sexually deviant behavior the more closely they must guard their secret. The longer the behavior continues, the more addictive it becomes, and the more it destroys their core being.” …

…According to a May 18, 2010, survey conducted by Today’s Christian Women Online, 34% of their readers admit to intentionally accessing porn. The results of this are staggering. More women are getting involved in cybersex, more women than men convert online conversations into real-life affairs, and more women are accessing porn while at work.

If those stats didn’t get your attention this next one will. According to Family Safe Media, the largest group of viewers of Internet porn is children between ages 12 and 17. In spite of this staggering statistic, most of the Christian parents I speak with deny their kids have or would check out a porn site

~Bill Perkins, article “Porn in the Church: The High Cost of Silence.”


Last night around 9:00 PM I became aware of a number of people tweeting using the hashtag #setfree2016. (You don’t need a Twitter account to see the posts.*) I decided to check it out.

The Set Free Summit started yesterday evening and runs 3 more days in Greensboro, North Carolina and is hosted by Josh McDowell Ministries and the makers of Covenant Eyes computer software. Opening night speakers include McDowell, author Steve Arterburn, David Kinnaman from Barna Research, and author Michael Leahy.

Time Cover - PornPerhaps coincidentally, or perhaps providentially, the cover of the latest issue of Time Magazine has just released (April 11 issue) with the cover story Porn and the Threat to Virility, which chronicles the rise of porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED).  A sample:

A growing number of young men are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents. Their generation has consumed explicit content in quantities and varieties never before possible, on devices designed to deliver content swiftly and privately, all at an age when their brains were more plastic–more prone to permanent change–than in later life. These young men feel like unwitting guinea pigs in a largely unmonitored decade-long experiment in sexual conditioning.

The article is packed with research; budget about 10 minutes to read it all. (Some language might be considered edgy.) There’s also a short book excerpt from Peggy Orenstien’s Girls and Sex which again, coincidentally (providentially?) I had just heard about after youth ministry specialist Walt Mueller noted it in an April 1st blog post, along with an audio link (embedded) to an interview the author did with NPR.

While the Set Free 2016 event is not streaming live, and it’s not an annual event (so far), you can get an idea of what you’re missing by clicking on the 4-day tabs on the conference schedule. (I hope some videos are eventually posted.) Again, allow some time to scroll through to see what each presenter will be discussing; the short seminar previews are themselves a window into this issue.

Bill Perkins concludes:

Our strategy to achieve sexual purity has to be like a laser-guided missile. These weapons constantly adapt to the changing terrain as they zero in on their target. Because the moral terrain is constantly changing, we must be adept in adapting as we pursue our target: sexual purity.

 

 

*The link is for the “live” feed on Twitter. If you just want highlights, click the tab that says “top.”

January 23, 2012

No Congratulations: It’s a Girl

Filed under: family — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:10 am

The 3 deadliest words in the world:

Video annotation:

In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.

This documentary film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.

Learn more about the film and sign up for email updates at www.itsagirlmovie.com

But before North Americans get too smug, consider these words from Baptist icon Albert Mohler, Jr.:

Abortion is now America’s most common surgical procedure performed on adults. As many as one out of three women will have at least one abortion. In some American neighborhoods, the number of abortions far exceeds the number of live births.

Most Americans will pay little attention to the 38th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision. In 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a woman has a constitutional right to arrange the killing of the unborn life within her. Since that decision was handed down, more than 50 million babies have been aborted, at a rate of over 3,000 each day.

One of the most chilling aspects of all this is the sense of normalcy in American life. Abortion statistics pile up from year to year, and each report gets filed. Moral sentiment on the issue of abortion has shifted discernibly in recent years, as ultrasound images and other technologies deliver unquestionable proof that the unborn child is just that — a child. Nevertheless, the larger picture of abortion in America is basically unchanged.

…continue reading here…

October 12, 2010

Police Acting as Agents of the State

To Canadians, especially those in the country’s most populous province, Ontario, the name Michael Coren is well respected.   The conservative radio talk show host also hosts a weekday television program, writes a weekly column for The Toronto Sun chain of newspapers, and is the author of several books, including a biography of C. S. Lewis.

His most recent column, published on Saturday (9/10) re-posted below, is one of many that may be found in his page at The Toronto Sun.   (The nearly 200 comments to date on this one indicate the size of his national following.)


In Ottawa [last] week, police arrested five university students for displaying a pro-life exhibition.

They were peaceful and merely expressing an opinion and showing the realities of abortion.

In Toronto at the same time, the trial began of a man arrested and charged by police for defending his store against a career criminal with a mass of convictions. The drug-dealing crook was offered a reduced sentence if he would help their case against the model citizen of a store-owner.

The inescapable conclusion is while the police in this country are supposed to be guardians of the people, they are increasingly becoming agents of the state.

That they are political, or at least obey political masters, is surely now beyond dispute. Notice how they repeatedly refused to arrest or charge violent native protesters in Caledonia, Ont., even after there was filmed evidence of some of the demonstrators attacking people and destroying property.

Such refusal to apply the law when sensitive or controversial politics is involved is now common in Canada.

Less violent but similarly illegal is the phenomenon of men taking their clothes off and strolling around downtown Toronto during the Gay Pride Parade, sometimes simulating sex acts or participating in the real thing. Those who complain have been ignored, or even threatened with arrest themselves.

What happened at Carleton University with a group of young people with a social conscience, however, is extraordinary. They were hurting, and have hurt nobody. They were not demanding special privileges or grants. They were not insulting people, not even raising their voices. What they were displaying was a visual argument that the slaughter of the unborn is akin to genocide.

If you don’t agree with them, do what social conservatives have been told to do for decades every time they complain about pornography on TV or obscene behavior. Turn away. Don’t look. Ignore it.

Odd how when more conservative individuals are offended, they’re called prudes and told to grow up or ignore what they see, yet when allegedly liberal types are upset, the result is often police intervention and hours spent in a cell.

In Colorado, at the moment, a picture of Jesus Christ taking part in an obscene sex act is on show at a gallery that receives public funding. The museum, the artist and the funding have all been defended by some of the same people who have called for the arrest of activists from the American branch of the movement that participated in the pro-life display in Ottawa.

Last weekend in Toronto, a city-wide art show, backed by hundreds of thousands of tax dollars featured, among other things, two women posing naked for more than 24 hours. Parents with children were not warned before they entered the room and some complained. They were told not to have “such closed minds.”

Actually, their minds were not closed, but their hearts were open. There is a major difference between having an open mind and an empty one, and there is something repugnant about hypocrisy, particularly when it is backed by police muscle and a legal system that prefers political fashion to the absolutes of the law.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.