Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Briefing - May

I have just finished reading this month's e-Briefing, and highly recommend it to you.

The topic this month is Purity in the Age of Porn and it contains a number of helpful articles.

In Sexual Immorality: Some Thoughts from Corinth Gordon Cheng talks about how the first and final solution to dealing with sexual sin is the death and resurrection of Jesus. We cannot jump in first with ways and tips to help each other, but must first come to grips with what Jesus has done for us on the cross, and how that must shape all of how we live.

In The naked truth about porn, James Warren talks through the realities of life today, where TV, the movies and most predominately the internet, ensure that porn of all types has a AAA rating "Available, Affordable, Anonymous". James evens attempts a helpful definition of porn "explicit material designed to promote sexual desire outside God's design".

James discusses 3 reasons why porn actually is bitter, because it reinforces three distortions of the life that God wants for us. It distorts sex, distorts relationships and distorts ourselves.

He goes on to suggest 4 ways we can deal better with these issues:

1. We need to be mindful of diversity - some people have no issues with porn, others dabble in it and others are addicted to it. We have to understand that it is a problem for some, but not all - and therefore we must be aware of it, and never dismiss it out of hand

2. We need to be honest - we need to be opposed to all porn and have 'absolutely no porn' as our goal. Those who struggle in this way need to be honest with some trusted friends who will help to keep them accountable.

3. We need to be supportive - help those who struggle, for those who do struggle in this area "face a long, hard and lonely path with little support. The discipline required is immense, and the process is humiliating".

4. We need to speak up publicly. Christians are in danger of saying too little on this topic, "yet we have immensely valuable things to say about sex to our society. By not speaking up, we end up capitulating to and condoning the world's agenda."

A helpful article in many many ways.

In Making Singleness Better, Tim Adeney talks about how to love and serve single people in our churches. As you can see from the title, I have linked to the full article which is available online. The most insightful quote that I found from this article is:
Paul was not married, but neither was he lonely. I think he would see this epidemic of loneliness as a major moral failure of the church to be the church, and, perhaps, more particularly, a moral failure of families to treat those not in their family as family. The church is a family, and we are to treat those in the church as family—not by lowering the standard with which we treat our family, but by raising the standard with which we treat others.
He goes on to give suggestions about how our families could operate better to include single people, and how are churches could also do a better job within their own structure and design.
He also encourages singles to take advantage of the freedoms of being single, but also to be careful about it - to ensure they are embedded in a community.

Gordon Cheng also reviews Walking with Gay Friends, by Alex Tylee. He says:
Tylee's book is short and readable. It is particularly useful for readers who are Christians or readers who are open to hearing that there is hope of rescue from homosexual sin. The style is friendly and familiar, and manages to avoid the twin evils of being preachy and patronizing. There is a reading list at the end, which includes Christopher Keane's What Some of You Were. I recommend both books as readable, biblically challenging and pastorally compassionate treatments of homosexuality.
A book I now will try to read.

And finally, Simon Roberts in Avoiding the traps of an online world, takes on the issues of sexual immorality online and how to manage them wisely. He gives some very helpful practical tips on how to use computer software to protect you and your family and to help keep ourselves accountable. Some of these are filter software and others are programs that report on your internet usage to another person.

As part of this, he makes two very helpful points:
1. "We should not expect to find a technological solution to a theological problem" . We must actually try to become more Christlike in everything.
2. However, like in any area of sin, help is available and we should use whatever help we can that works for us.


This is one issue that is certainly worth having.

My understanding of the eBriefing copyright requirements is that I can send anyone a copy of it, as long as it is not more than 2 issues per year. So, if you would like a copy - let me know via a comment, and I will email it to you.

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