Thursday, May 19, 2005


Ep-i-dem-ic: adj. 1: affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time; 2 a: excessively prevalent; b: contagious.

In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell notes that human behavior often mimics the dynamics of an epidemic, wherein what is a fairly static phenomenon suddenly spikes upward when it hits a “tipping point.”

Pornography is not a new human behavior but its tipping point was the Internet. In the last ten or fifteen years the interest in, use of, and addiction to pornography has reached epidemic proportions among men (and to a lesser degree, women) who have private and confidential access through websites. Christian men are equally susceptible and a staggering percentage of them acknowledge either addiction to or a discouraging or destructive interest in pornography.

At one men’s spiritual retreat I participated in seven years ago it became clear that the whole weekend was driving towards a night of confession and repentance by men of their participation in pornography. When I asked the leaders about that at the end of the retreat they acknowledged that their experience with Christian men had led them to conclude that hosting a weekend men’s spiritual growth retreat that didn’t deal with pornography was like hosting a baseball game without fielding a team (that’s my analogy, but you get the picture).

Recently I heard an inspiring interview with two Christian men who felt led of God to devote their ministry efforts to providing hope, help and healing to Christian men and women in bondage to pornography. Their strategy was unusual: Along with their wives, they undertook to get to know and witness to the pornographic industry by going to conventions, trade shows, etc. and talking to the people in the industry. They found that even some in the industry acknowledge its destructiveness but feel helpless to extricate themselves.

Their ministry is called and it offers education and help, including Pure Online, a “thirty days to purity” online workshop. The two founders are young and hip and they pull no punches. There is a “postmodern” feel to this ministry and I say that in the most positive sense. These guys are out to make a difference and my hat is off to them. I encourage you to go to their website (which they call “the #1 Christian porn site”; see what I mean about them being edgy?!), sign up for the free newsletter, avail yourself of some of their resources, and listen to the interview that I heard [“Pastors and Porn”] which narrates how they began this effort and what their journey into the fetid underbelly of the pornographic industry has been like.

You will notice the absence of my characteristic and much lampooned humor in this essay. I wish I could think of a cheeky angle to this issue but I can’t. This is a serious problem and it deserves serious attention.


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