From: Ken Royer [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2011 2:57 AM
Subject: To our Colleagues in Personnel
September 1, 2011
To our Colleagues in Personnel...
1) This monthly "resource tool" is designed to provide encouragement for personnel workers in ministry-related areas. If you would like to be removed from the list (or a friend would like to be added), please let me know... email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Link Care’s Program of Restoration and Personal Growth has openings. If we may come alongside and consult or help by providing counseling services, please let me know.
3) “Building Skills for Member Care with Excellence” (Jan. 9-13, 2012) – Special offer: to those who register by September 15 – and send the registration fee, we will reduce your registration fee to $50 (rather than $100), and thereby reduce the conference cost from $650 to $600 per person (incl registration fee). We’d LOVE to have you with us!
For this month’s “tool” … we’re turning to Link Care’s President, Dr. Brent Lindquist, for the topic…
Leading with Integrity in Response to the Pornography Tsunami
(A Version of an article which ran in the Lausanne newsletter)
We've watched news coverage of Tsunamis hitting Indonesia, Thailand and most recently, Japan. A Tsunami is a horrible metaphor that we can apply to the effects pornography has on each of us. Tsunamis cause wholesale and nationwide wreckage that will take years to overcome.
The statistics of the impact of pornography on our cultures and us are too depressing to quote at length. Suffice it to say that, at least in the US, 70-80% of Christian men rate between "more than attracted to addicted at some level." The numbers of women expressing this same tendency is rising as well. Even among our children, most are exposed and using by the age of 14. What should our response to this be?
In one sense, by the time people are entering their young adult years, I believe it is too late to focus development on any planning strategies, because the wave has already arrived. I don't think I am on shaky ground when I say we should recognize this reality. While I cannot go into detail in this article, what is needed, in my opinion, is a set of responsive strategies, which encourage us to holiness and personal purity.
Let's start with an assumption that the majority of our church and culture has been impacted to some degree by pornography. If we agree that most of us are in recovery and growth from or beyond the impact of pornography, then we are bringing this secret out of the darkness and into the light. Into the light means acknowledging to others that we are struggling with this problem, and we need help. In our weakness we, through "He," will become strong.
I wonder how moving from Pornography as something we can avoid to something we need to break free from would change conversations, trainings, and caring? I Thessalonians 4:3-5 sys: "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen." Certainly, we are called to avoid, but that is only part of the story, the rest of which is to learn to control our bodies and desires. For people who enter the church with this in their background, teaching to avoid comes too late. Our approach needs to be embodied in confession and accountability with support.
Recovery from the effects of pornography is not a one-time treatment. It is not a pill one takes, or a book one reads, or even a therapy one undergoes, once, and then is finished.
It is a lifelong call to holiness, seeking to replace the memories, images, and lusts of inappropriate sexual content with holy thoughts and images of biblical truth. Is this possible? Of course. But it requires a constant commitment to personal purity, and accountability to others besides yourself.
Waiting until someone has fallen, or someone is discovered to have fallen usually means that they are put into therapeutic programs. These are good and needed, but we really should be focusing our efforts earlier in this process. Here is where accountability and purity come in. Certainly, people who have fallen need accountability groups and processes and need to re-establish commitments to personal purity. But, I believe we, as leaders ourselves, need to seek personal purity as part of our regular lifelong spiritual journey.
So where do we, as leaders, start?
First we need to make a commitment to our own personal purity, no matter what the cost. I say whatever the cost, because the reality is some of us are deep in sin, which is completely compromising our ministry and witness. Coming clean may have tremendous impact on our marriages, our families, not to mention our ministries and ourselves - but it is something we must do.
Next, we need to find a few people who can live into our lives with us. These must be people to whom we can be accountable, and who will keep asking the hard questions. They will become our confidantes, confronters, and encouragers. If more of us had more of this kind of a person in our lives, we probably would be doing a lot better with our personal purity.
Next comes life...a lifelong journey of following Jesus with all of our thoughts and feelings. I believe what we watch comes out of our thoughts, by which I mean that our thinking usually serves to drive us towards activities. If we are thinking impure thoughts, we will be drawn to impure actions. Maybe not in a one-to-one relationship, but it can sure pave the way to perdition!
Sexual sin is an abomination to God, whether it is in our thoughts or our actions, just like every other sin. As long as we keep so much of our sexual thoughts, desires, and urges to ourselves, we are leaving it open to allow the Evil One to create lies and distortion. Sexual sins have been around since the early days, and we need to see the whole of biblical history as the arena where people dealt with sexual sins and got on with life.
Can we accept each other as sexually sinful people? People who struggle with attraction to internet pornography, and fail, and get up to pursue personal purity again? And again? Certainly there may be consequences for leaders who are dealing with personal sin. Some of us will be removed, and probably should be. But, we need to keep our work in proper perspective. It isn't what we have achieved or what we have done that will count for eternity. What matters is how we tried to live and whom we are striving to live for. As leaders, our hardest struggle may be choosing to be accountable in regards to personal purity. But freedom from sexual bondage brings freedom from oppressed feelings, a life of integrity and a connection with our divine Lord in a new and glorious way. May God bless your journey to personal purity.
And to all – we wish you a great month!
Ken Royer, for your Link Care Friends
1734 W. Shaw Ave; Fresno, CA 93711
559 439 5920 ext. 122