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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Praying for Porn Stars?

Before you read on, I can't encourage you strongly enough to read Russell Moore's article of the same title. His intellect allows him to make a point that I would stumble to try to convey. (As a side note, if you are a father of a daughter...PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read the article.)

I'd be lying if I said my only concern with pornography was as that of youth pastor. That I'm only fighting the battle as one sitting above it, worried about how others may respond. I'm a man. So I'm right in the thick of it as well. Fighting that the church would maintain its purity, knowing that must start with me. Sexual sin is unique (I Corinthians 6:18) and therefore, we must enter this conflict with a strong, yet humble resolution (Galatians 6:1).

I struggle as a pastor to know how to engage our church in this battle. I know of a couple of guys who have really felt called to attack this industry head on. They've moved west to the heart of the industry and have even set up tents at porn conventions. They have begun to meet "stars" and directors and have tried to infultrate the community. Their wives appear to be supportive and very involved with this ministry as well. They are refreshingly clear and honest about the temptations and consequences of pornography. They don't pull punches and call sin what it is.

Yet, I'm not sure. I don't believe I could ever participate in such a ministry. My flesh is way too weak. I find myself wanting to keep this whole issue as far away from me as possible. (Wondering even, that though their information may be helpful, some of it may be too much information, and cause a person to stumle...thus, I don't name them, or offer a link.) It's one thing to consider praying for those who are suffering in this form of "entertainment," but I don't know if it's wise for me to keep running a pornstar's name through my head as part of my prayer list. Like a tornado, I can see myself getting too close and being sucked in.

However, we have to acknowledge that the church has been negligent in this area. It seems ground breaking for a person to even admit they've seen pornography before (I have, I confess) even though we can encounter it even when we aren't looking for it. So what happens? A person in our church is left alone, thinking they are the only one facing the battle. People are not aware of safeguards or accountability that is available to them, as the church turns its head and pretends the problem doesn't exist. We, in essence, set people up to fail by not supporting them, or by making them feel isolated, as if their sin is unforgivable. We've got to do a better job than this.

Where does the balance lie? I don't know. We have to be honest and up front about this situation. Pornography is ruining lives and marriages of not only the viewer, but also the people who are making it. It is playing a huge part in the unraveling of the moral fabric of our churches and our nation. Yet, an arrogant, untouchable attitude is just the sort of thing that will fall us victim to it.

I guess the first step to being a better pastor in regard to this issue, is being a better man. I must be aware, not only of the consequences to our nation, or my church, but to the consequences to my family, my wonderful wife, and my own walk with the Lord. Can we be close enough to one another, as men, to help each other fight the battle...not so we can draw near to it, but so we can keep one another as far away as possible.

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