Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Porn stars - the new standard of quality?

I just came across what must be the most biased manipulative article based on recent "research" that I have ever seen.  The research was done by what is known as a scholarly journal of over 100 women involved in the pornography industry, who are compared to the same amount of women who are not.  It based its claims on what the women had to say about their feelings and opinions about various aspects of their lives.  The conclusion of this journal was that these "actresses" have a better quality of life than the ordinary woman not involved in pornography.

One question was to rate their level of self-esteem.  Porn stars seem to love themselves and think very highly of themselves in comparison to the rank and file of other women.  They claimed to have happier lives because they earn well, they get more sleep (less work to earn a paycheck, I suppose) and have frequent sexual encounters.  Duh.

The journal came up with this study to debunk what they consider to be a myth that women in this industry are damaged individuals and victims of childhood abuse.  Their goal is to tout a new, revolutionary concept that this kind of career is actually healthier and better for you.  Porn stars damaged?  Why, no!  They are the new standard of quality!  And because these women say they're happy, therefore they are happy - why would a porn star lie?

After 26 years of counseling and caring for families, couples and women, in particular, from all over the world, I can categorically say that this supposed research is baloney.  Not only that, but it was done purposefully to encourage more degradation to women, to marriage and indirectly to everyone.

Why would they say then, that they are so much happier and content with their lives?  Women who have been deeply wounded and deprived of a loving home as they grew up can easily fall into this trap of seeking out affection through promiscuity.  If they are surrounded by enough people to praise and glorify what they do, they can easily fool themselves into believing that this is what they really wanted all along, that this is their way of self expression.  They desperately want to be happy and valued, so if it's offered them through money and the adoration of others, no matter what the motive, they'll take it.

A woman in our Rahab group in England was once a prostitute for very high-end clients in London.  She told me about the money, the jewelry, the clothes, cars, expensive gifts, hotels and restaurants that she would frequent, and how she and the others in her brothel boasted about their great lives, compared to those pitiful ignorant wives of the clients that they entertained.

"But you know," she confessed, "None of us were really happy.  Everyone felt lonely and disgusted with themselves, and that's why so many turned to drugs and drinking to deal with the emptiness.  No one was a true friend.  We hated ourselves, so how could we care about anybody else?  All that big talk about how happy we were and how much freer and luckier we were was just talk to hide our real feelings.  I'd see some of them break down and fall into suicidal depression, but others just kept up the act and got tougher and meaner.  When I finally left that life, no one cared and in fact they were glad to have me out of the way..."

This is the reality that I have seen with the women I've known caught up in this kind of life, from strippers to prostitutes to even "actresses" of this nature.  And what do actresses do best?  They pretend to be what they're not.  Good actresses in theater and film can leave their character behind when they go home, but the poor women involved in this industry often cling to a fantasy life, pretending to be happy to mask their emptiness. They've found a way to make a comfortable living off of being damaged.

One young man I counseled was convinced that the girls he saw on those illicit videos really liked what they were doing.  No, I told him.  You are participating in abuse, in degradation, each time you watch this.  Don't believe their smiles or their boldness - it's an act to cover their shame.  If you pretend you're not ashamed, does that make the shame go away?  These girls hope it's true, and keep trying to drown it out.

God created us to enjoy - not just confine ourselves to, but enjoy - purity, respect, and love for His ways.  The fact that there are so many unhappy women who are not in the porn industry doesn't mean that they are living the way that God intended, otherwise they would be much happier.  Women, men, anyone who lives in the power and presence of God finds far more happiness, success and fulfillment than those who don't.  The world, even with all of its problems and evil, becomes a brighter, more joyful place because you are always in His light.  Romantic relationships are intensely more pleasurable because they are based on honor, sacrifice, faithfulness and commitment, and they grow and develop as years go by.  Children grow in strength and wisdom because they witness a stable, loving home where both mom and dad are present every day of their lives.

So we have a strange phenomenon.  Women who have brainwashed themselves into believing they enjoy being paid to be abused and objectified, while others who choose a conventional life dislike themselves and feel unfulfilled.  What this says to me is that the entire world has drifted so far from God's original plan, that it's time for a radical overhaul.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Radical pilgrims and the 40 Day Project

But isn’t Thanksgiving all about turkey, football and family?

Not for those who started it all.  For the first settlers on American soil, their Thanksgiving feast was the result of hard won battles against the powers of their time, against two months at sea, raging storms and the ravages of nature, against disease and cold and against their own fears and doubts.  It was a victory that came at a price of great personal sacrifice.  Their feast of celebration could only happen after a year of steadfast, stubborn faith in God’s leading.

Edward Winslow, one of the 53 pilgrims who had reached the new land on the Mayflower and survived that first horrible winter wrought with death and disease, wrote a letter to the Christian believers back in England about their first meal of thankfulness to God that they shared with the Indians that November.  These are his exact words in the old English of 1621:

"our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours ; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others.  And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want,  that we often wish you partakers of our plentie."

There was nothing luxurious about that Thanksgiving, nor was it a day of indulgence or selfishness.  But one thing they shared was a sense of awe, humility and true thankfulness that the God of the Bible that they believed in had not only spared their lives, but had given them an abundance of blessing through their crops and their friendships with the native Indians.  They had fought hard against all odds, believing in a God who kept His word to those who acted by faith - and they saw the results of that faith before their eyes.  From that moment on, the group grew in strength and numbers and has evolved into this beautiful land we live in today.  Four centuries later, the blessing of God on these simple people of faith continues to spill over onto us.

Now that's a Thanksgiving we all could use!  

God is looking for more steadfast, stubborn and radical people to believe that He can take them to a new and better life.  As our lives change, we change those around us and those who come after us.    

In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, we celebrate the beginning of The 40 Day Project to fight for our own freedom and that of our children.  Not through politics but with faith.  Not against people, but against the problems that tie us down to a life we no longer want. 

Thanksgiving Day, November 25, fittingly launches the first day of our challenge.  40 Days of making incremental changes in our habits, our thought processes, and our faith.  We will battle the ravages of all the negativity that bombards us every day, and with a true and stubborn faith in God, we will bring in the New Year as renewed and strengthened people.   We will gather together in SiLC for a dedication service to begin the journey that will only end on New Years Eve – exactly 40 days long.

Who's ready to be a pilgrim?