No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, but they may be wrecking your life.
XXXchurch is a ministry specifically reaching out to people who have problems with pornography. While the dominant group are men, women can also be prey to this damaging lifestyle. Pornography can be just as swiftly addictive as any drug. As a counselor I have treated many people with drug and alcohol addiction, and I can testify to the fact that those who are dealing with an addiction to pornography can be just as hooked.
There are many great things that XXXchurch does. One of the most accessible is an accountability software called X3Watch. The software is installed on a computer and the user then sets it up with a number of other people who are supportive and direct. These partners (or sponsors to use the 12-step term) receive emails listing any questionable materials that the user may have been viewing online.
Show your support. Share the word. Save a marriage. Save a life.
Well, I need to take my own advice and listen.
It would certainly be an issue if I would continue to write as I have been and ignore the honest and open feedback that I have been getting. If I am to be true to the sentiments that I have been expressing in regard to genuine relationship for its own sake and tempering our message so it can be heard, welcomed, and understood (whether or not it is fully accepted) I need to take some steps back.
Thank you to all of you who have shared your thoughts either by email, comments on posts, or in person. Please continue to hold me accountable for my own message and delivery. I am also in this process that I am writing about. Believe me when I say that what I have been writing has been challenging to me as I do so.
A few years ago I was working as a group counselor in an intensive addiction program. Part of our program was to require participants to attend Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and / or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting in addition to our sessions 3 times a week. If you know anything about the 12 steps of AA, you know that within the first 3 steps there is much in the way of allowing God to work in a person’s life.
And so it was that an atheist joined our group, and immediately had a problem with the requirement because of his belief system. To make this stand he would be going directly in violation of the rules of participation in the program and because of his connection with the local probation department this meant he was risking jail. That is true determination.
… and strangely they sometimes become living replays.
To set the stage, you have to know something about drugs addicts. When someone is arrested for drug-related offenses, is sentenced to probation, and then the probation officer requires treatment… well the last person they want to see is me. And then to have to be charged money to do something that they are scheming to try to avoid… you get the idea.
Well we were getting together for another group session, one of 3 that were required each week lasting 3 hours each. Some had done very well and were ready to graduate from the program. As typical, no one had any money to pay the receptionist but the discussion was brought to how we would celebrate.
Addicts do not know how to party! They think that what you do is down some pills and get high, otherwise they have no clue what to do.
The suggestion was that we order pizza, and that everyone pitch in for it. Well, let’s just say that when one member offered up their 3 dollars and 2 quarters (sound familiar?) a increasing amount of money appeared. So much so that there was enough pizzas that several people got to take some home with them!
Okay, so it was not 5,000 people and there was some cheeky manipulation going on. But when the meal was over we all knew that we had witnessed something supernatural. The connection they felt with one another was something that they had never truely experienced. Relationships had all been about the chemicals, but this was an almost miraculous even where relationships suddenly became about being with one another and caring for one another.
It was in this moment that we felt the brush of the finger of God… and perhaps even 2,000 years ago this was Jesus’ whole point.