Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I have been watching Pornography.
And I am amazed at what people will do in front of a camera. I have seen sexual encounters that range from the ridiculous to the cruel: leather thongs, masks, and buckles; couples, threesomes, groups; public nudity, private moments, and voyeurs; old, young and bizarre; and abusive sex.

In case you are wondering, I am preparing for Sunday. I am participating in a teaching series that is using Richard J. Foster’s book “Money, Sex and Power”. This Sunday I will be speaking about sexual brokenness. This will be followed by prayer for those who carry scars from their sexual histories.

What has both fascinated and frightened me is the response of my own body and mind. I have discovered my physical attraction to visual stimulation: but then this is not new. All my life I have been attracted to beautiful women. And naked women are sexually stimulating – except for the site I discovered with naked grannies! At the same time I discovered my mind being titillated by some of the weird stuff: I am at first shocked by seeing someone tied up, or blindfolded, or set up for abusive for sex. And then I wonder... “so what’s next?” This is similar to driving past a vehicle accident scene, where I want to slow down to “have a look”. My mind asks for another shock. And, like the dubious thrill of a frightening theme park roller-coaster, I want to be horrified.

I also feel guilty: What if my wife or daughters catch me watching this stuff? Will my explanation that “I am preparing for Sunday” sound plausible? And I feel guilty at the physical attraction to some of the pictures. Why does my body respond in this way to someone who is not my wife? But then my body has always responded to beautiful women. It is my moral and spiritual boundaries that have regulated what I do/do not do with this response. Which begins to give me a clue where I might go on Sunday:

The fact is that every human being is sexual. We experience our sexuality each day. And we constantly make choices about our response to the sexual stimuli that come our way. Our present sexual activity grows out of our past sexual encounters. We all have made mistakes in the past. Stupidity is not learning from our past mistakes to make informed choices in the present.

So on Sunday I need to offer people a way of making peace with their past. We do not need to carry the scars from bad sexual encounters into our futures. God can heal us, and allow us to function as sexually healthy people in the present.

I am posting this blog in the hope that those of you who visit will offer me advice.
What would you say to my congregation on Sunday?


John van de Laar said...

I want to congratulate you on your courage, Pete - both to do the work you're doing to prepare for Sunday, and in posting about it here. Very brave, my friend.

Two thoughts:
1. I can't tell you what you should say on Sunday - that's not my place. One thing that I have found helpful in my own sexual journey is realising that sexuality and spirituality are not separate and dichotomous human experiences. They are, in my mind, two sides of one coin(But then, you already knew that). Eugene Petersen explores this beautifully in "Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work" (p. 24-25 & footnote 2 on p.25-26) - check it out if you have the book. (Look for the paragraph that starts "All horizontal relationships...". If you don't have the book, email me and I'll send you a transcript of that paragraph and the footnote).

2. You might want to read an interesting feminist perspective on pornography: XXX - A Woman's Right To Pornograhpy. It gives some interesting insights that might help you and it's available free online (or I can send you an electronic copy). You probably won't buy all she says, but I think it's important to hear her perspective.

3. Another helpful book if you can find it is Jo Ind's book "Memories Of Bliss".

There's a lot there, but I hope some of it is helpful.

Blessing to you on Sunday!

bugs said...

wow, brave indeed! i have "five smooth stones" in my office if you want to check it out

Neville - McGyver said...

Pete; thanks for the insight & thoughts. It's really given me something to mull over.

Steven Jones said...

Phew, Pete - brave move indeed. I pray that God will use your message (and your experience) mightily as you share with your congregation.

Depending on your relationship with your congregation (and this is entirely your call), it may be extremely releasing for someone battling with pornography addiction to hear about your "experiment" and what effect it has had on you. I can see this being far more powerful than hearing a "don't" message from someone who has no idea what the person is going through, and how porn can enslave them.

No doubt you've prayed about this, and my thoughts and prayers will be with you on Sunday. I'm also praying that you'll be able to "switch off" once your sermon research is complete!

(Word verification: "versli" - a sexy way to sing hymns in melodic verse - taken from the premise that extremely good-looking women tend to end their names in "i", e.g. Jacqui instead of Jackie. I REALLY need to have my family with me again if I keep coming up with these warped definitions!)