Exiting a Porn-Land Culture

Portland

I grew up in what some people call “Porn-Land”, or, Portland, Oregon.  It is called that because it has been known to have the highest amount of strip clubs per capita in the country.  I might add that it also has a pretty high rate of adult shops as well (funny, that they call this “adult” when to be mature is to walk in some manner of respect for other people).

We live in a lonely world though full of technology with entertainment to meet the pain of such loneliness to the T; but then so we think.  With all of the those images and novels that captures the erotic instinct, what falls by the wayside is a respect for the object of our desire, ourselves and for the Creator that made us for something better than that.  Acting out on the desire to have sex without love can be helped with some conditioning but behavior is an outward sign of something wrong in the heart so compulsiveness has to be dealt with inwardly as well.  If it is dealt with right, what may be discovered that our real needs are to connect and this may or may not be dealt with physically.

Such is the angle of an ex-carpenter on a mountainside one day.  He is sitting down per the rabbinical tradition and teaching a higher way of thinking and living on many things and that includes the human “urge to merge”.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell” ( Matthew 5:27-30).

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’— This is important because Jesus is about to take them beyond the obvious and the technical.  Referring to how they have heard something stands as contrast to the experiential part of Christianity including when it is not convenient.

everyone who looks at a woman with lust—- This is just one example on how someone can be objectified.  To objectify someone where you love their parts and not the sum of their person is having a selfish love centered on what you can get out of them.  In some cases the person is a user or could even be called the leach in a codependent relationship. An old friend of mine in high school was blind and said he could lust after a female by her voice.  If you desire a relationship with a person based on what is in their wallet, then you are also unfaithful to how creation should be with itself.  The sin in the heart can be very real and demeans the lustful and the lusted after.  Jesus brings in wisdom that shows a better way.

If your right eye causes you to sin—-  Yes, one could say this is about what you are doing with the literal orb in your socket but it can be much more.  What is the lens that you use to see the world?  Is it a lens that is based in love for people and uses things as a means to lift up the people around you?  Or is it a lens that is about loving the excitement for excitement sake and using people for that?

As a substance abuse counselor I hear and see things every day that are about the second of those roads.  It all starts with perspective and compulsively demeaning the people around them based on what can be harvested out of them whether it is the high of the drug and a cheap hook-up.  But the perspective can change with the hard questions and taking what the 12 Step program calls a fearless moral inventory.

And if your right hand causes you to sin—  Our hands are how we obtain the objects of our desires.  But I can say that it is also about the dysfunctional means we have for getting our hands on something that we should not have.

When a crime is involved there is motive, opportunity and alibi.  Motive, is in the eye verse.  Alibi is keeping yourself in situations that are above reproach.  Opportunity is in the hand verse.  If having the internet in a closed off room in the house is a means for looking at things you should not look at, then get the computer out to the living room where family or a roommate walks by.  If you have neither, get yourself on an accountability list.  Is losing some of your independence humiliating?  Well, so if giving account to God for demeaning His creation.

To cross a line takes the individual toolkit of the sinner.  But the righteous person who goes forward, they think of ways to handicap their toolkit to live a life of freedom.  Maybe you know how to flirt, manipulate, center things on you.  But using people is wrong.  Loving unselfishly is best.  What is stopping us?

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