“Teach Men Not to Rape” and #TakeDownThatPost

It is not often that I write addressing current events.  They can be so volatile and slathered in opinion.  One poor choice of words and you bring the wrath of a politically-correct American democracy crashing down on your head.  So, yes, I keep my little voice out of the big fight, perhaps more often than I should.

This week though, I just do not feel I can remain silent, because the effects of porn have been all over my news feed.

From a college porn star bemoaning the fact that she gets no respect now, to the outcry at Miss USA, to a large Christian publication’s story in which they allow a child abuser and sexual predator to spin his interactions with a minor as if it were just an affair.  #TakeDownThatPost is sprinkled all over my Twitter.

And my heart seriously could not take it anymore.  This all, in my mind, has one root problem- sin, yes, but more specifically, porn.

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When Confession Costs You a Friendship

Michelle and Alexi had been best friends for years.  It seemed natural that they would be roommates in college.  So, off to college they went together- home away from home.

But Alexi was harboring a secret.  She was struggling with porn.

After months of silence, Alexi finally gathered the courage to confess to Michelle.

And then everything changed.

When Alexi e-mailed me, Michelle was distant.  Alexi felt she was being treated differently and she was disappointed in her friend for not being there for her.  This was the time she needed her the most.  Now what was she supposed to do?

It is a situation many of us dread: we confess and someone just walks away.  What do we do?

Is the risk worth it?

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Choosing the “Right” Accountability Partner

If you are ‘in the market’ for an accountability partner, it can feel a lot like, well…. dating.

No, I am not kidding, and if you read the e-mails I receive from readers, you would know I am not kidding.

Maybe this whole accountability thing is not a big deal to men. At least we women do not picture it being a big deal to the men among us.  After all, porn is just a given, right?

Guys have it so easy, we think.  There is this universal understanding that guys struggle with porn, as if it is an effect of the Y chromosome.  Whenever we hear a man talk about ‘sin’ in his life, what do we all immediately think?  I know I am not the only one who immediately assumes it is a sexual sin of some sort.  I am not saying that is fair (because is it is not), but that is how we can perceive the male experience.

We picture men having a conversation about porn like we might have a conversation about shoes:

I have a confession to make.  I have 20 pairs of shoes.

Girl!  Me too!

(Come to think of it, that might actually be true for me.)

We picture that confession being met with nods of agreement and manly side hugs of understanding.  “It’s OK, man.  We have all been there.”  Then, they all pray together, text each other throughout the week, install accountability software and ask each other tough coded questions like, “How’s your walk?”

We women look at that and think, “I want accountability like that.”  

The “I struggle with porn” conversation is not quite as casual for women, at least it does not feel that way.  Instead of feeling like a conversation about shoes, it can feel more like confessing to being an ax murderer.  You just have to be careful who you tell, right?  Right!?

Well, maybe not…

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Steps to a Steady Heart

It is time (finally) to pick back up in the Trigger series.  In case you are new (or in the likely and totally understandable event that you cannot remember what I wrote about five months ago), let me get you up to speed on what exactly we are talking about.

Have you ever been doing just fine in your walk on freedom only to suddenly find yourself knocked over by failure?  One moment you are doing fine, even better than fine- you are doing great.  By the end of the day, though, you have fallen and fallen hard.  What is worse is you do not even seem to care.

How did that happen?  What makes some days harder than others or some temptations easier to resist than others?

I can sit in a car alone with a man and not even think twice about it, but smelling a certain lotion can start a battle.  Why?

Well, the answer is triggers.  We all have different triggers, and I break them down into four different areas: triggers of the soul, triggers of the heart, triggers of the mind, triggers of your strength.

Right now, we are talking about triggers of the heart.

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Accountability: What do you Expect?

One of the things that can trip us up the most in any area of our lives is unmet expectations.

We expect to get married before we are 25.

We expect Prince Charming to have blue eyes and straight, white teeth.

We expect people to just understand us.

We expect certain things and when those expectations are not met, we get frustrated, usually at other people. They should have obviously known how to handle this situation.  They should have just known what was expected of them.

Expectations can kill an accountability relationship, so it is important, before you start one, to know what exactly it is you are expecting.

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Kissing is Not Sex: Part 2

I started writing this followup to my previous post Kissing is Not Sex.

A couple thousands words later (that is no exaggeration), I realized a few things:

1. I was still nowhere near making my point

2. Thousands of words is far too long for a blog post

All of that to say that this topic is probably not succinctly covered in two little (or not so little) blog posts.  Whenever we look at anything regarding relationships, there are variables and lots of them.  One size simply does not fit all.  A relationship between two people with past sexual experiences will look different than a relationship between two virgins in their mid-30s.  Both relationships can have radically different guidelines but both can honor God.

So, how do we develop these guidelines of maintaining purity?  If they are not one-size-fits-all, how do we know what is ‘good’?

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Kissing Is Not Sex: Part 1

To kiss or not to kiss: that seems to be a question I get a lot.

My first kiss was some time during elementary school.  While our class was on our way out to recess, two snot-nosed boys were arguing over which of them was my ‘boyfriend.’  Mind you, I was completely oblivious to the apparent importance of this conversation.  We were about ten feet outside the school doors when one of them turned around, grabbed both sides of my face and planted one right on my lips.

I stood there stunned, while Ashley, my arch nemesis (yes, you can have those in third grade), ran to tell the teacher that I had kissed a boy. The boy and myself spent all recess sitting on a bench in the middle of the playground.  It was our punishment for ‘kissing’ even though I had informed her that this was not my fault.

I was so mad.

Innocent playground kisses aside, let’s take a minute to talk about kissing and the questions young women ask me about whether or not they should kiss before marriage.

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Are You Really Addicted?

A number of months ago now, I received an e-mail from a young woman.

Help! I am addicted to pornography!

She went on to explain that in the last six months, she had watched pornography twice, and she just felt so horrible because she knew she was addicted.

My response: “No you’re not.”

Obviously, I did not phrase it quite so bluntly.  Up front, it might seem harsh, even inconsiderate, but the reality is, there is freedom in that realization.  After I finished responding to her, I set off exploring this concept of pornography ‘addiction.’  I realized something:

We Christians love to (over)use that word, and it’s hurting us.

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Where Do You Run For Answers

Technology is an amazing thing.  We have so many answers literally waiting at our fingertips.  Years ago you could Ask Jeeves (anyone remember that?).  Now, you can Google it, or ask Siri. We can instantly access scores of articles, columns, lists, tips, forums, blogs, and so on.  An ocean of information just waits for us to surf it.

If we are not careful, though, we can drown.

This is not so much about pornography. Yes, pornography is out there, like a shark in the ocean, but this is more about priority.

Recently, I have been going through some interesting and new struggles in various areas of my life- from health concerns to personal matters to research for writing.  I have found myself, in every situation, running first to the internet, typing my question into the search bar and reading through the (often conflicting) results, desperate for a definitive answer, hope, encouragement, tips, tools.

That is a problem for me.  I do not want it to be one for you.

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Can We Be Too Conservative?

A conservative Christian group recently shared a status on Facebook in which they asterisked out the word ‘vagina’ and apologized for the crude language.  When I saw that, I was speechless, in a way.  Since when is vagina (when used in its proper context) crude?

It raised a question in my mind:

Can we be too conservative when it comes to issues of sex, sexuality, and body parts?

I think the answer is yes.  This hyper-conservatism earns us a bad reputation as Christians of being out of touch and sexually repressed.  Seeing ‘v*****’ in a Facebook status from a Christian group actually embarrassed me, as a Christian.   I could think of other alternatives that should have been censored but the actual medical textbook word?  Really?

Then I realized how prone I am to do that in my own life- not in writing, but in my thought.

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