Friday, March 04, 2005

internet pornography

Yesterday I took part in a conversation with several other pastors on the subject of internet pornography. The conversation was led by a therapist, whose practice has included persons addicted to these materials. A number of comments were made: some feel they have an illusion of privacy; some feel that it is safe; others argue that no one is hurt. In some families, a wife may insist that the husband not engage in internet pornography in the home, and so it finds its way into the workplace. Most internet pornography, the therapist noted, is viewed between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

What does this mean? I am convinced that technology is neither positive nor negative; it is neutral. E-mail can be a very effective form of communication, or it can be used in a destructive way. Websites can be wonderful (some of my favorites are listed on this blog); they can also be harmful. Pornography, or the devaluing of a person through the means of sexuality, is nothing new.

What may be new is a "perfect storm" that has developed, in the marriage of internet and pornography. And the result can be very destructive: to individuals, who become more and more isolated from reality; to children, who are often victimized in this way; to persons who lose their livelihoods and families.

Several spoke of the difference between a "virtual" community and an "embodied" community. One is an ideal, a fantasy; the other is real, human, flesh and blood. At one point the conversation, as these often do when pastors are together, drifted into our own experiences: aren't most of us tempted to prefer a televised religious experience, when the music is perfect, the message is nuanced, the environment is polished, to an actual church composed of people who fall short, need forgiveness, ask us to serve, irritate us in some way?

I was also reminded of the challenge we have, as Christians, to desire the right things, and to desire them in the the right order. We do sometimes make idols of people and experiences as we imagine them. If internet pornography is an addiction....and I am persuaded that for many this is probably the case....we would do well to explore the root causes: the need for intimacy, the pervasive loneliness that is out there, and, in contrast, the tendency to withdraw from real relationships, because we are not in control of the outcomes. Christian communities, at their best, have been places where a deep sharing of life is possible. An embodied faith---an incarnate faith---is the alternative to destructive and addictive patterns of behavior. This faith holds us accountable, values us for who we are (persons created in God's image), and gives us wisdom: a way that leads to life, and not death.


Blogger my_angel_eyes3 said...

I had an ex who use to use my computer.. til i ended up with viruses.. they were caused from him getting on porn sites that i didn't know about when i wasn't home... to me it did damage to our relationship.. in the eyes of the Lord it is the same thing as cheating... or rather that is how i see it.. but then again this man and i were not equally yoked either and now that we are not together he has been getting into wiccan... but back to the point of porn on the net.. it took me forever to get the virus off my pc and i couldn't let my children on here to play their games because popups would come up of porn for the longest time.. i finally got rid of it.. and he was sorry and sorry for it.. but it didn't matter... i came home again and found him on it again.. was about 2 weeks later that we broke up... i pushed him away.. i found ways to push him away so he would break up and leave.. just nitpicking and stuff i guess.. for some reason that is my defensive move when i get into relationships and things are getting to close or they have done something i start shutting down and closing them out and pushing them away...

this was a good post and in my eyes and i'm sure in the Lords eyes one that needs to be addressed more and more... because it really does cause downfall in the relationships... in my opinion they look at porn then they look at the real thing and then it can progress to actually cheating in real life.... prayers and luv.. jenny

3:11 PM  

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