Sincerely, Freedom.

This is a very powerful video…one every middle & high school students and parents need to see.  I give it a PG-13 rating. Below are some of my favorite quotes from it as well.

“My dealer is a computer screen who lives in the same house as me”

“The victory in an addiction is not a retreat it is a pursuit.”

“the things you play with in High School as an adult will play with you”

“Get kids who cant defend themselves hooked early so they become a consumer for the rest of their life.”

The Paradox of Our Time

There are many paradoxes that exist in our post-modern society but arguably none as big as how sexuality is portrayed in our culture.  On the one hand our culture is “sex-saturated…” Don’t believe me? Then just think of any sexual term and enter it into that box at the top of this page.  Never before has there been easier access to sexual imagery than in our day.  The average age of kids first exposure to porn is around 9.  I won’t get into the stats but if you need em you can check them out HERE.  Bottomline is that our culture seems to have few boundaries when it comes to sexual expression. A recent episode of Glee showed both a teenage hetero & homosexual couple lose their virginity. Does art imitate life or life imitate art?  Look at the top 10 songs over at Billboard.com. What is the message of many of the songs? Sex is fun, free and should be done as much and with whomever you want to do it with.

Then there is the other end of this paradox…the Media recently has been all a buzz with the coach at Penn State who molested young boys. Also in the past few weeks there have been accusations of a sexual nature made against presidential candidate Herman Cain and performer Justin Bieber… neither of which seem to be true.  However each of these are portrayed negatively in the media, as in morally wrong.  But as was discussed in an ethics class I took years back, who draws the line when it comes to sexuality? With what standard does society say that Herman shouldn’t mess around with women who weren’t his wife? Or what makes it wrong for the Biebs to get some action back stage from a willing fan? And even still…why is it wrong to molest young kids? Now before you get all testy on me…I agree that all of those actions are in fact wrong but not because I say so, or because I drew some line in the sand that I think others should follow. My opinions on the appropriate expression of sexuality come from a Christian worldview based on the Bible. Where is our society getting it’s opinion of sexuality?

It is challenging to exist in this society which has no problem in creating sexual animals who crave more and more sex and yet when the leash breaks and people get hurt by one of these”animals” society demands someone to be held accountable. Ironically shouldn’t society be held accountable?

Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.
Henry David Thoreau

Porn: Worse than you think.

This past Sunday I visited Metro South Church in Taylor and ironically the talk was on sex. One thing that Jeremy the pastor said that stood out was: “Nothing takes you further and faster away from the heart of God than sexual sin.” Man my experience unfortunately backs that up.  Recently read a post by Walt Mueller that I found disturbing and convicting. I’m not a huge stats guy, but at times I think they shouldn’t be ignored and this is one of those times:

One reality that keeps rearing it’s ugly head as I complete research for our Digital Kids Initiative is the pervasive presence of pornography in today’s world. It’s a growing issue for men, women, and children. Way back in 1996, the U.S. Department of Justice issued this statement: “Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent (and obscene) material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restrictions.” That was 15 years ago. The Internet has grown. Access to computers has increased. And sadly, the online pornography industry has either kept or set the pace.

Statistics are hard to nail down. What we did know back in 2006 was this. . . every second there were 30,000 Internet users viewing pornography. Seems a bit low. There were 4.2 million pornographic websites, or 12% of all Internet content was pornographic. Again, sounds low. And every day, there were 68 million search engine requests for some type of pornography. Probably a bit low compared to what will happen today. Experts say that pornography addiction is driven by three factors: it is accessible, it is anonymous, and it is affordable. Sadly, the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11. I’m guessing that as the years advance, that number will go down.

A youth worker friend recently told me that he no longer looks at his middle school boys and asks them if they are struggling with pornography. Rather, he looks at them and tells them that he KNOWS they are struggling with pornography. Never has a kid challenged his assumption.

As I’ve continued on in my work in the area of youth culture and digital kids, I’m increasingly convinced that 1) this problem is only increasing, and 2) we need to be aggressive and proactive in shaping responses that are prophetic, preventive, and redemptive. The immediate and long-term fallout is going to be beyond anything we can dream or imagine.

If you are a youth worker, parent, pastor, teacher. . . or just someone who realizes how vulnerable both you and the kids you know are to this stuff, let me point you to three of the best resources I know. Consider this a starting point. . .

First, I want to encourage you to visit, bookmark, and favorite the website for HarvestUSA. Please check out the HarvestUSA website now. There are some great resources for you to access, use, and pass on.

Second, I want to recommend with urgency that you pick up a copy of Tim Chester’s book, Closing the Window: Steps to Living Porn FreeWe are so excited about this book that it is our featured resource this month at CPYU. If you choose to secure your copy through us, you will be supporting our ministry.

And third, I want to invite any of you who live in our Central PA neighborhood to join us on November 8 for a one-day training seminar for youth workers, pastors, parents, and pregnancy center workers: “Life Up Close – How To Challenge Teens to Embrace Sexual Integrity.” During the day, Jason Soucinek will train you in how to talk to children and teens about sexuality. You can learn more and register here.

(You can find Walt’s original post HERE)

Help with Porn

In our digital age students are consistently being hit with sexual imagery and pressure. From Rihanna’s S&M to the Black Swan, our culture is being highly influenced by the pornography industry. As if that weren’t enough, I read an article last week on sexting and the pressure boys put on girls to mimic what they are seeing in porn.

Sadly that doesn’t surprise me much these days but what does is the amount of people I meet that are still unaware of the resources out there to protect your kids and yourself from Internet pornography. So I’ve decided to share with you some of those resources that I’ve promoted and/or have used myself.

Covenant Eyes – a must have for those serious about overcoming internet porn addiction. Basicially you pay a small fee to have the websites you visit logged and sent to accountability partners you select via email.  I have this on my computer right now…and dont see that changing. Best part is its hard to remove and requires a code that you get from a website or call in. When you request this code it immediately notifies your accountability partners.

Xwatch for computers and phones – Similar to Covenant Eyes this sends your websites to partners via email, however this program is free.  Also you should know this is easier to shutdown, but still tells your partner that you shut it down…but I think its still doesnt do so instantly…but whenever you chose to send the reports.  Also they have a version for smartphones, I think iphone and android currently. Once again great for those who struggle on their mobile device…feel free to stop me the next time you see me and I will show you this running on my phone.

Xxxchurch and other online forums –  This is the organization that came up with Xwatch…but they are also a great resource for articles on pornography addiction and also have forums to receive anonymous help.

Counseling - I cannot understate the benefit counseling has made in my journey. It’s important to dig alittle deeper and figure out the WHY behind your addiction…what hole are you trying to fill with porn/sexual addiction? There are many sites online that can help direct you to a counselor, but I recommend calling your insurance company and asking for counselors in your area. (if you have insurance)

Recovery group via church or FMO- Many churches have recovery programs that offer alot of support from people who have been where you are. It takes alot of courage to show up and admit your struggle, but each week you go it gets easier and easier as you realize you are not alone.  In the Portland area there is a great program called FMO (For Men Only) which meets in local churches during the week and is completely anonymous.

Accountability partners – Regardless of your level of involvement with porn, I think every guy (and many gals) would benefit greatly from having accountability partners. While they help you steer clear of stuff you shouldnt be doing, they are best at pushing us to do good stuff we should be doing. Don’t have one? Begin to pray for God to reveal someone who would be a good fit for you.  Does someone come to mind? Take them out for coffee and make the ask.  It takes courage, but once again the payoff is worth it.

Filters…not a big fan. There are a number of internet filters aimed at taking away all the bad sites from your computer. In my experience these work up until a point, but dont block everything. Depending on how addicted you are this might work, but I still think the programs that send visited sites to accountability are partners.

I trust that the information above helps you or someone you love.  Feel free to comment with any resources that I miss.

Psalm 51:10 <>< Purity is Possible.