Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions: Build the Esther Fund

January 1st is a symbolic day for many people. Some people resolve to lose weight, some to stop smoking. Some people resolve that this will be the year that they get that job they've always wanted, and some resolve to read War and Peace (or dare I say the Bible).

For many men, this may be the year that they resolve to kick their habit with pornography. For a good number of them it will be their first attempt, and for many others it will be the latest attempt in a string of many. This is an admirable resolution, to be sure, but it can sometimes be difficult to make a resolution that is about abstaining rather than indulging. Pursuing holiness is a scary task, especially when the reminders of our sinfulness are so easy to come by. But the life of Christ is not just marked by sin-avoidance. Jesus did not just go through life doing a sin slalom course - weaving through the lying, adultery, stealing, murder gates of life. The Christian walk is marked more by the "do untos" than the "don'ts".

So my challenge to all of the men who want to do more than just avoid temptation is to direct that energy to something productive. Let's find ways to "do unto" others rather than just have our personal "don'ts". Direct your life in such a way that it is towards something that may help you become more 'others-oriented', and to find ways to journey towards holiness by caring for those who have had the sacred stripped from this world. If you are looking for something specific, might I suggest The Esther Fund.

The Esther Fund was created by those at to assist porn stars who industry. They provide education, counseling, medical help, referrals to churches, mentoring, financial aid, and more. For almost 8 years they have visited numerous adult industry conventions across the world sharing the good news of Christ and offering real assistance to those who have been used by the industry the most.

Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about opportunities to contribute to this fund and to be working towards something rather than just trying to avoid porn. For those of you who are looking to do more than just cleanse your conscience, let's find ways to mend what has been broken - the lives of women who have been consumed by pornography.

My resolution for this year is to tithe any funds I receive from Wired for Intimacy-related sales, speaking honorariums and workshops to The Esther Fund.

May the Peace and Hope of Christ be with everyone in 2010 and let's help build the Esther Fund. Who knows; it may be a modern day Esther that helps lead some of God's people out of slavery and bondage.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wired for Intimacy is Out!

Just a quick post to let you know that the book is officially out and on its way to readers and bookstores. My wonderful editor, Al Hsu, informed me know it would be available at InterVarsity's Urbana conference in the next couple of weeks. So if you know of anyone who is going, feel free to point them in the direction of the book table.

It is finals week here for the professor, so I will be scoring exams and submitting grades. Be on the lookout for my next post, though due to the 'off time'. I'm soliciting suggestions for my next topic, but am currently deliberating between Tiger Woods, the Supreme Court's decision on privacy and sexting, and the Esther Fund.

Have a wonderful Advent season, everyone!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dr. Drew 's Sex Rehab - what it's lacking

Imagine my surprise when I was cruising the channels the other night and I stumbled across Sex Rehab with Dr Drew on VH1. Unfortunately I couldn't watch it - my elementary school children were in the room at the time and I didn't want to risk DVR-ing it (all three of my children are adept at finding our recorded shows and watching them). So I had to wait until the kids were asleep and it was airing before I could get a chance to see what this was all about.

If you haven't seen it, Dr. Drew Pinsky (along with masters level clinical psychologist Jill Vermeire) hosts and guides eight individuals suffering from 'sex addiction' through a detox-like program at an inn-patient facility. Much like Celebrity Rehab, the show delves into issues related to addiction, abuse, trauma, recovery and sobriety. In the episode that I had a chance to watch, the cast were encourage in an intensive art therapy session to release their anger by smashing plates or other objets (I have always had my doubts about cathartic theapies).  While succeding in getting a handful of the cast to be reduced to tears and face their emotions, I began to wonder where this was all going. Interested, I resolved to follow the episodes for the next few weeks in spite of the language, strong sexual content, and painful stories of sexaul brokenness.

By a strange coincidence, three of the cast were on a recent episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show (original air date 11/23/09).  In so many ways, Dr. Drew gets it right, but he falls (in my opinion) just one step short of true healing. He can offer the hope of healing, but he is limited in that he is unable to offer a true source of healing: the forgiveness found in the blood of Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

One of the more interesting individuals on Sex Rehab is former adult entertainer Jennifer Ketcham. What strikes me as so significant about Ms. Ketcham's story is that of being unable to 'connect' with people. It never ceases to make an impression on me - the depths to which sexual wounds which are inflicted upon someone and those they inflict upon others. Our sexual nature is such an embedded part of who we are, and it has such a sacred dimension to it, that whenever our sexuality manifests itself in a corrupted form - one which seeks to gain power over another, to dominate, to exercise a hedonistic selfishness at the expense of another - it can wreck havoc in the lives of so many. To hear her story of being sexually promiscuous at 12 and preying upon her classmates to exercise power over them is both terrifying and devastating. To hear her story of being raped and to see how this has impacted her life is truly heart-breaking. Her involvement in pornography is hardly a surprise given her painful story, and it offers another example of how pornography is a counterfit for real human connection - for the real human need to know and be known as good. If you are able to watch this show, and hear her story and not have your heart burdened with compassion for this woman, I do not know how you can call yourself a Christian. It is here in these places that our understanding of humanity and love should most call us to compassion for one another. It is here in this place of compassion that the message of God's love and forgiveness is most powerful.

To watch how Dr. Drew and his colleague attempt to treat those who have struggled with so much pain and suffering without the message of the gospel of Christ is also mystifying. Is this all that the world has to offer? It is here in this place of brokenness that the forgiveness of Jesus, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God the Father is able to restore and redeem. It is here in the incarnation of Christ that we have a great high priest who took on our form, has sympathy on us, and humbled himself that the Church is able to go just one step beyond what the world has to offer. But, unfortunately many in the church are too quick to demonize, to ready to ostracize, to willing to judge those who have been sexually wounded and who wound others. When this sacred part of us is torn and corrupted it takes more than a few broken dishes, communal tears, vague reference towards 'spirituality' and a reality show to make us whole again.

As my wife and I watched the show, my wife looked at the screen and said, "I hope she meets Jesus."

It's my hope, too - for every member of the cast of Sex Rehab and for Dr. Drew.

It is in Jesus that I believe (and I know) the lives of each one of us can be restored and we can truly live.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Welcome to Wired for Intimacy: The Blog

If you are reading this, my guess is that you are one of the handful of  people who have picked up my text Wired for Intimacy and have browsed here to see what this whole thing is about. My hope is that this blog will be a place for me to share a wider vision about what it means to be created in God's image and how that plays out in all of our relationships (not just the 'sexual' ones).

I am also looking forward to using this space to comment on the ways in which the media address issues of sexuality. Whether it is a new book, scientific article published in a neuroimaging journal, a blurb on or, a billboard advertisement on the expressway or a question from one of you, I am looking forward to discovering new ways that we can discover how our sexuality can propel us towards sanctification rather than depravity.

Feel free to look around the blog. As additional resources for education, healing and encouragement become available I will be linking them in the appropriate sections. Also feel free to comment or contact me if there are any questions, comments, or concerns that you might have. My goal is to post at least once a week once the book comes out (some time in early December 2009), and then we will see where it goes from there.

Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.