Several years ago, I was at a conference for church planters that helped shape much of my thinking about starting a new church. There were ideas that took root in those few days that have a lot of influence on what we are up to today.
But there was one moment in a breakout that I remember as well as any other, and it had nothing to do with church planting. When faced with the choice of breakouts, my friend and I elected to go a session on pornography and sexual addictions which was being led by a counselor. (I’ve been to plenty of breakouts on these topics, but surprisingly few have been led by someone trained in counseling or psychology, and not as a pastor or theologian.)
As the session was winding down, he held up a book that had been very popular — Every Man’s Battle — and explained that while it wasn’t a bad book, it fell short of dealing with the core issues men face when it comes to sexual addictions. It deals only with practical steps for changing behaviors, and not with the core issues of the heart and mind the shape the behavior.
In Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain, I found a book that addresses these issues more wholly. William Struthers teaches Psychology at Wheaton College. He brings two disciplines to his work — Christian ethics and neurological studies of the brain — to show how pornography is not simply a matter of sinful behavior. It is physical and spiritual at the same. It is a replacement for the joys, and difficulties, that are found in genuine intimate relationships.
I think Evangelical Christianity often falls short in naming sin as do’s and don’ts/black and white issues. It is important, I think, to show sin is not only a matter of right and wrong, but a choice between behaviors that are destructive vs. behaviors that lead to life and goodness. Good choices and wisdom come not when we know the what’s of sin, but the why’s.
So in Wired for Intimacy, I found a helpful book for engaging the issue of pornography as more than just an issue of behavior. It is a perspective that should be more widely recognized in all forms of Christianity, and, I would even hope, beyond.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”