Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Playboy Grave ~ Guest Post by Dr. James Emery White

The Playboy Grave ~ Guest Post by Dr. James Emery White

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{According to the experts, 3 out of 5 men in the Church viewed porn this past month. The average American will see 15,000 risque ads or promiscuous characters a year on TV. Tragically, this issue is destroying marriages and lives. The following is a guest post by James Emery White and is worth your time.}

Porn Blog Image

Playboy magazine has decided to end printing the pictures of fully naked women. So as many have been joking, if you really did read it just for the articles you’re in luck.

It’s hard for younger generations to realize the cultural weight Playboy threw around. During the 1970s, it was estimated that one out of every four college males was reading it. It “was there at the start of the American sexual revolution in the early 1950s – and drove it wildly through the 1960s and 1970s spanning continents.”

Yet the greater cultural headline is why they will no longer feature nudity.

The rise of internet pornography.

The magazine’s circulation began to drop off in the early 1990s, from a record 7.2 million for the November 1972 edition to just 800,000 today. So the libertarian views of its founder, Hugh Hefner, the “leader of the revolution that helped take sex in America from furtive to ubiquitous,” have won. Or as Scott Flanders, Playboy’s chief executive told the New York Times, “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. It’s just passé at this juncture.”

Yes, it sadly is.

And because we live in such a pornified world, we can forget how damaging that world is.

Let’s not.

It is sexual sin. Jesus made it clear that when we give in to lust, it is akin to the act itself. It makes no difference whether you know the person or not; lust is not tied to relationship.

It is addictive. The ubiquitous nature of porn is new to our culture, and to human sexuality, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is highly addictive in nature. As a result, it can not only begin to dominate a life, but can demand ever-increasing levels of exposure and ever-increasing degrees of experience to continue to stimulate.

It is degrading to women. In pornography, women are treated as objects. They are not fulfilling God’s dream for their life as His precious daughter, nor are they fulfilling His design for sexual expression and fulfillment. You are watching a woman who is being sinned against, treated in a way that is contemptible to her heavenly Father (whether she sees it or not – and the fact that many may not only adds to its tragic nature). And if you are a woman watching it for the men, it is equally degrading to them.

It leads to other sins. Studies are beginning to show that the effects of porn on men are more than temporary sexual stimulation: as they see women treated as objects, they begin to treat women that way. They become more sexually aggressive, leading to date rapes and expected “hook-ups.”

It harms your relationship with your current, or future, spouse. It is absolutely ridiculous to say that watching porn enhances a sexual life. Instead, it cheapens it. Those caught in its web testify to how porn quickly becomes a substitute for sexual intimacy with your spouse.

It desensitizes your soul. Sin of any kind desensitizes your spiritual life. Continued exposure to a sin such as pornography is like shooting Novocain into your soul. It deadens you and grieves the Holy Spirit in your life, forcing Him to withdraw His utmost filling in a way that diminishes His power and presence in your life.

It distorts sex. Nothing reduces sex to lust more than pornography. Yielding to such images is overwhelmingly addictive, like a narcotic that delivers a quick hit to the emotions or senses, but ravages you from within. It destroys real relationships, real intimacy, real sexuality.

So Playboy magazine finds its nudity irrelevant in a Playboy world. By helping create a sexualized world, it dug its own grave.

Unfortunately, it dug a grave for much more than itself. 

James Emery White 

Sources
 
“Playboy Magazine abandons nudity,” by Barney Henderson, The Telegraph, October 13, 2015, read online.
 
“Nudes Are Old News at Playboy,” by Ravi Somaiya, The New York Times, October 12, 2015, read online.
 
See also James Emery White, A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom (InterVarsity Press).

About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

 

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When it’s absolutely wrong to forgive! ~ A Guest Post by Cary Edwards

When it’s absolutely wrong to forgive! ~ A Guest Post by Cary Edwards

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{Note: This is a guest post by my friend, fellow blogger, and Eastpointer, Cary Edwards. Enjoy!}

CHP_Police_Interceptor_Utility_Vehicle

It was too short of an event to get the helicopters in the air, but I remember a story in the late 90’s of a police pursuit in southern California which barely made the news.

As we have seen so many times, a police officer spotted a vehicle driving sporadically on the 14 freeway. The vehicle wasn’t speeding, but it was swerving in and out of its own lane. The officer suspected the possibility of an intoxicated driver.

After several, seemingly, very long miles the officer was able to get the vehicle pulled over and stopped. As he approached the car, hand cautiously on his holster, he looked in the driver’s window to confront the intoxicated driver.

Well, almost in an instant, everything happened. Almost too quickly, in hindsight.

If you’ve grown up in, or even around church you’ve undoubtedly heard teachings on forgiveness. Although (surprisingly) the word “forgiveness” is only used a handful of times in the Bible, the entirety of scriptures is riddled with the theme of forgiveness. As a matter of fact, it’s such a strong theme it actually “plays trump” to many teachings in the Bible. 

In the frequently taught passage in Matthew 18, Jesus instructs His disciples how to handle situations where someone has offended or wronged someone else. In that passage the proper steps are explained; first go to your brother or sister alone. If that doesn’t work, take a witness with you. Finally, take it before the church.

Simple enough, right? That should handle any issue where you have been wronged. Unfortunately most sermons end there.

But here’s where forgiveness “trumps” that passage. Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another”. So with respect to Matthew 18, before confronting the offender, we should always be willing to forgive them.

Furthermore, approaching the situation with a tender heart, placing yourself in the other person’s shoes before and during the confrontation. When and if it happens like this, many times one will find it is absolutely wrong to forgive. Why? (Well, since that’s the title of this article, I better explain it. Right?)

Often times we go into such an encounter expecting an apology.

We stage everything around our own big hearted willingness (aka. obligation) to forgive. As if to say, “once you see it my way, you will understand your fault”, and “if you were concerned about me, we wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place”. This whole process ultimately brings the attention back to one’s self.

Here’s the rub. Without all the information, received through a tender heart, an expectation of an apology will often be completely without merit. An “offense” may be based on incomplete or misplace or false information. This means a pre-planned attitude “to forgive” is completely wrong.

Even worse, it ultimately forces the other person into a situation of now needing to forgive you, which they never asked for or even deserved. Why? Because of your pre-conceived assumption of fault, judging and even condemnation of them. This is why it’s critical to be tenderhearted first.

Sitting there on the side of the 14 freeway, that officer determined to holster his gun and call immediately for an ambulance. With his training and willingness to evaluate the whole situation, he very quickly realized the driver wasn’t intoxicated at all. He was actually having a stroke. The officer’s willingness to observe, listen, and respond to the facts ultimately saved the driver’s life and quite possibly, many others.

The officer could have approached the car with a big hearted plan to sternly explain the driver’s offenses to him. He even could have pre-planned to ultimately forgive him, and allow the driver to continue on his way as he tipped his authoritative cover (hat). But if he had done that, it would have ultimately led to tragedy. 

Forgiveness can be a very tricky thing, but when tempered with tenderheartedness, so often it’s often absolutely not needed and possibly could even be wrong.

So next time you feel you’ve been offended by someone, maybe it’s actually wrong for you to expect to forgive. Always be willing to forgive, but first be desirous to be kind and tenderhearted. See what wonders God works out in the situation.

The passage in Matthew 18 goes on to say, if you are able to resolve the situation you have won your brother. Shouldn’t that be our desire in the first place?

Just a thought…

I hope you enjoyed this. If you did, please “Share”. Thank you.

 

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WHY IT’S OKAY TO NEED TO BE NEEDED (You may not be a narcissist after all.)

WHY IT’S OKAY TO NEED TO BE NEEDED (You may not be a narcissist after all.)

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Need ALONE

Let’s own it: As a culture we are far more narcissistic than we should be. Admittedly, the “me” generation is out of control at times. Last week, I addressed this issue a bit in my blog.

However, maybe, just maybe, there’s something else going on.

I’ve noticed a growing number of people who post on Facebook something like this: “I’m doing a test to see if anybody reads my posts . . . if you’re truly my friend, ‘Like’ this post, or you might be removed from my friend list.”

When I see those posts, I typically do two things. First, in stubborn independence, I refuse to Like whatever they are begging me to Like. Second, I wonder if they understand that Facebook controls the percentage of posts that get shared on their friends’ walls. Ordinarily, only about 12% of any post is ever seen by their friends because Facebook doesn’t pass them along.

That means that if they follow through (which they rarely do, I suspect) and delete their non-liking friends, they are eliminating about 90% of their friends who have never even seen the dang post.

Silly.

NEEDED Guy on Social MediaBut it got me thinking. Why do we do this kind of thing, and why does it matter so much to us? I’ve never pulled the “Like me or you’re out” thing on my friends, but I do like it when I’m Liked. Not too long ago, I said to my wife, “Hey, I got over 200 Likes on my blog post.”

I look. I check. I ache just a little whenever someone unsubscribes from my blog.

Why?

Perhaps my insecurities have gone wild. Maybe I worry too much about what people think about me. I might be a closet narcissist!

Or . . .

More than likely, there’s something else in play here.

Maybe you and I were made to be wanted. Perhaps God included the need to be needed in our DNA. What if we were made to be in community? What if it’s okay to desire Likes because we crave connection with others?

Need WE

Sure I sometimes question the legitimacy of my Facebook “friends.” Certainly there is and should be far more to our human connections than the things we might gain through social media.

But this need to be liked does tell a story about humans who know in our knower that “we” is more important than just little ole me.

Made in the image of God, we, like the community of the Trinity, are destined for connection. So perhaps it’s okay to need to be needed and to want to be liked because we truly do need each other.

In all of your relationships, choose well, live well, be well.

Time to check Facebook! 🙂

Need 1 Cor 12

 

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8 Responses to WHY IT’S OKAY TO NEED TO BE NEEDED (You may not be a narcissist after all.)

  1. Liked this article but I think it sad when our human connections are from social media. I feel as Christians we need to encourage time spent with each other in person as more important. We are too ‘socially mediated! (New word?) How about a phone call, card or note sent, invitation to meet together. We are missing the mark! I need human connection in the true way God intended! I miss the real personal connection but it is up to me to make it happen. The amount of time we spend on social media we could have made a ‘real connection!’

    • Hi Kathy,
      I’m absolutely agree with you! My blog was not meant to promote “social media” as a primary means of connection, only to explain why we long to be connected. Social media can help, but it should never replace face to face. Thanks for adding to the conversation.
      You are loved!

  2. Totally get you.
    And I like what you wrote!
    When I post some things I get from the Lord, it can be pretty straightforward. But because of that it can seem controversial or maybe not liked as often as my creative writing where I feel God oozing through to love people. I do agonize when my true friends (and family) don’t like it, but I’ve been dying to that my whole prophetic life. Yep I’m human. Rebecca

  3. I,too, love FB. It has led to renewal of relationships from umpteen years ago AND to phone calls & cards etc etc. But, I have found, since I have re-entered the “real world”,got off my you-know-what & am actively participitating in volunteering & classes I am much more content & happy. Did somebody say once “no man is an island”? Goes for women too!
    Good word son.

  4. its sad when your child comes to you and says I “have” to be on FB, twitter, vine, pinterest…etc etc… for school REASONS(yes,teachers are expecting kids to have these social medias) or for my after school club says I have to be apart of whatever…and it just breeds from there…and We fortunately say back to said child you may have ONE social media outlet…you decide and it will be monitored and if its a problem with teacher or organization then WE will talk to them. I just think its ridiculous!! How do our kids react to the actual REAL world when its only electronic based??

WHY I WON’T BE BOYCOTTING STARBUCKS (How light should illuminate, not blind.)

WHY I WON’T BE BOYCOTTING STARBUCKS (How light should illuminate, not blind.)

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Starbucks Illuminate

I’m old.

I’ve been around for a long time, and I’ve seen Christians (myself included) do some ridiculous things.

For example, some non-Christian company (Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, etc.) does something, well, non-Christian, and we start calling the saints to arms. Whenever we believe our values and our beliefs are threatened, we fight. And it ain’t pretty.

Yes, I know, Starbucks took “Merry Christmas” off of their red Christmas holiday cups. And like many, I’m sick and tired of “political correctness” and deeply concerned about the moral and spiritual condition of our nation.

However, and pardon me for using a worn-out phrase, but what would Jesus do? Stop rolling your eyes and think about it. Seriously, what would He do?

I find it hard to imagine Jesus rallying the disciples to boycott Cup ‘O Mo coffee because they took His name off the cups.

Starbucks Boycott Group

In fact, I know that Jesus would say something more like, “Bless those who curse you . . . let those bound in darkness see your good works, not your angry reactions . . . be peacemakers.”

Too often, too many in our world consider Christians as nothing more than a bunch of whacky fanatics looking for a fight. Sadly, we are known more for what we are against rather than what we are for.

But you protest, “Yeah, but money talks, so when we walk, it financially hurts those companies who offend us. Somebody has to draw a line in the sand! We Christians must take a stand!”

I agree. We should take a stand.

We should take a stand against sex slavery.

We should take a stand for the homeless.

We should take a stand for the billions living without clean, drinkable water.

Starbucks Take a Stand

There are many other far more important issues than Starbucks cups to rise up and fight against.

If we want to hurt Starbucks, let’s boycott.

But if we want to love and be salt and light, let’s not.

Here’s a crazy idea: What if we were to buy our next cup of Joe (or is it Mo?) at Starbucks, and while we’re waiting, we silently prayed for the barista? What if we said something kind and acted like Jesus?

Ed Stetzer said it well in this Christianity Today article: Grab some coffee, and chill out!

BTW, if we’re going to start consistently boycotting companies for being offensive, worldly, and even non-Christian, we’d better start growing all our own food and making all our clothes.

How’s that Amish thing working for you?

As His followers, let’s choose well, live well, and be well in love.

Starbucks amish-287407

Like what you’ve read here today? Check out all five of my books on Amazon.

Some of the eBook versions can be purchased for only $2.99 and the softcover of Epic Grace is on sale for only $10.50.

PIAD Front PanelEpic Grace Cover High ResMr Mrs Front Panel

 

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14 Responses to WHY I WON’T BE BOYCOTTING STARBUCKS (How light should illuminate, not blind.)

    • I would agree, as long as it’s not about “making a point” — that’s just back-handed complaint and not very genuine. Of course, you also might want to wait until after Thanksgiving to wish anyone a Merry Christmas. 🙂

  1. Great word Kurt! I so love your heart and the wisdom you give! Thanks for being a Spirit filled voice to this world!

  2. Thanks, Kurt. I had one of those evil red cups yesterday and the coffee tasted the same as always. It’s a non-issue. I totally agree that the stands we take should be on issues where we can make a difference in the human or spiritual condition. Praying for the baristas is a great idea!

    • Totally agree, it’s a non-issue, but it provided a great opportunity for Christians to decide to be more like Jesus! Thanks, Linda Jo for your thoughts and kind words.

  3. I agree completely with what you are saying. I feel many of these issues are diversionary tactics by our real opponent so we won’t see where the real battle lies. Any good soldier knows to win a battle the best thing is to divert your opponent’s attention to a side issue that is not where the real attack will come from. Satan is very smart, smarter than me for sure, and I can’t battle against him in my life if I don’t listen to the Holy Spirit as to where the real danger lies.

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