Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hi, My Name is Phillip and I've got a Porn Issue

This post is born from an experience I had last Friday night. I was at a men's dinner at church where we had a guest speaker in, a guy who happens to be both an ordained minister AND a local sports talk show host. What was great about Larry was that right from the start he was from the hip and brutally honest. It was a great message that he gave.

Part of that message, and one that I talked about with other guys as well, was his story of how he called the cable company and had Cinimax turned off on his cable TV. Not because all Cinimax movies are bad, but because some of the programming contained pretty women in little or no clothing - and frankly it wasn't doing him any good.

Here, here.

That was a good biblical thing that Larry did. And, I've done it too. Scripture says that we should make a covenant with our eyes to put no unclean thing before them. And, it says that we should flee from evil. Good choice for Larry and me.

But I've got an issue.

23 years ago (almost 24) when I was saved I threw out all of my porn collection. I was actually stunned at the amount of magazines I had. That was 1982. I had no problems with porn until 1992 - the advent of the internet in my life. Still, it wasn't a big issue and it was pretty well laid to rest until 1995 when I finally had to have a computer in my house.

And there in lies the big rub. Unlike magazines, or even movie channels, I can't throw out my computer because the computer and the internet are where and how I make my money.

Yes. I've used proxies. Yes, I've set up firewalls. Here's what I've found. I get ticked off because I have them on - regardless of if I think of looking at someone's boobs or not. And, of course because I'm the resident geek in the house, there's nothing my wife can set up (if she was ever so inclined) that if I wanted to defeat it, I couldn't find a way around anyway. (and by the way, I do THAT just to see if it can be done - regardless of if I was tempted to look at something inappropriate).

My thoughts on the proxy by the way - it didn't ever really deal with the intention of the heart. And that ladies and gents is always the issue.

So what do I do then? Well, thankfully, I've never really gotten into porn. My idea of porn is still that of the 14 year old that looked at his dad's Playboy in the early 70's - boobs. I never got into any of the other stuff that resembled more of a OB-GYN monthly. Ewww. And honestly, that's been a HUGE benefit to me. Frankly, it's almost impossible to find something quite so boring or mundane as a woman without a shirt on without all the nastiest ads around it. And, I just don't go there - so it helps me resist the temptation even more.

But still, what do I do with this issue?

Well, to this date, I'm still not perfect - but I can tell you what God has done with me. Because, as I mentioned, this is a heart issue and it's God that wants my heart. And, if God more prevelantly dwells in my heart and my every thought is taken captive to him, and He in his holiness shines the spotlight on that thought - well, those thoughts don't last long.

And that's what I do. I have to say that this year has been probably the best year since I've required a connection to the net. I've gone long stretches without making a stupid decision - which I then regret almost immediately by the way. And, it's all to God's glory. Whatever the issues are in my heart, in me, about me - God is working those out. And, because of that I find that I'm a much free-er man.

Of course the fact that I have 4 daughters makes it even more necessary that I deal with this. The fact that any picture that I've looked at is of someone elses daughter greives my heart terribly. I hate to even THINK I could be that horrible. And that helps too.

So, am I there yet? Not quite, but I'm getting SOOOOO close. And in the process God is doing some wonderful things in me. One of the biggest things I've learned in the years of dealing with this issue is GRACE. You see, 10 years ago I didn't have much grace. Today, I abound in it. Why? Well silly, because I have an understanding of the NEED for grace so much more. I understand the grace that God extends to me. I understand the love he pours out each time I turn and ask his forgiveness. And in that I've become a better man, a better husband (ironically) and a better dad. I have lots of grace for my family now!

So, there it is, my name it Phillip and I've got a porn issue. No, I'm not an addict. Porn isn't something I'm addicted to. It's not something that causes cravings in my system. It's not a crutch. BUT, it is an issue. It's a distraction. It's sin that I know that God doesn't want in my life, and by his grace - as he promises - he is working to perfect me until I reach the day of completion (when I see him face to face).

And now you know. So, does this make me a hypocrite? Thankfully, no. A hypocrite is someone that sees issues in others but doesn't (or refuses to) recognize his own issues. No, this makes me a sinner saved by grace. In fact, it is almost the perfect example! Made clear mind you by a sin that most everyone understands is sin. Most people don't understand when sins like pride, or over eating or other sins that can really only be known by a loved one or God are discussed. But this? Everyone can understand this. And so, God has redeemed me, and he's working out his process of redemption in my all to human flesh. Thank you Jesus! I truly do appreciate it.

And, if you're someone that has a sin in your life, even if it isn't so easily identifiable as this one, the good news is that God can do the same thing for you. He can save you from your sin. He can expose the sin that is burried or hidden (like porn was with me before the internet), reveal it and then deal with the issues of the heart that cause it. At the end of the process you to can be a free-er man or woman too. Isn't that cool?

Thank you again Jesus - and to God be all the glory. Amen.

What's that show's name?

Can anyone tell me, since Ken Ray and Laura Burstein left, ummmmm you know that other Mac show - geesh I've got to look it up, hang on - oh, Inside Mac (which, by the way I was on at one point and I'm eternally grateful to Scott Shepard for) that's the one. Does anyone still listen to them? Not that Scott isn't good, but without Laura and Ken, it really becomes one note repeating to me - so over time I stopped listening and iTunes doesn't update it anymore. That happen to anyone else?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

"Tolerant" Governor - not so much.

O-tay. Before you read any of my rant, read this. When you're done come on back.,0,5412195.story?coll=bal-home-headlines

This is the perfect example of "tolerance" double speak. This governor is tolerant of anyone that doesn't have an opinion, or more importantly a belief. Here's the deal, I'm sure that "Mr. I'm Gay and Just Got a Guy Fired" has made plenty of intolerant statements. In fact, homosexuals in general are famous for casting aspersions.

And what did the guy who got fired do? He simply made a statement. He specifically shared his opinion based on his convictions and beliefs. BOOM. GAME OVER. Dude, that's not tolerant!

But you know what? I'm not tolerant either. I'm really sick of people doing stuff like this. I am not tolerant of two faced irresponsible "politically correct" sycophants that are happy to quickly point their finger at someone and that won't be responsible themselves. Here's my word to them - buy a clue!

I'm going to go on record with the guy that got fired. I don't think that homosexuality is a normal life style either. And, just so you know exactly how consistent I am in sharing that I believe it's deviant - it's the same thing I told my SISTER. Yes, my sister is currently claiming that she's homosexual. Correct. But to show you even more how consistant I am, let me share this. While my sister was still sleeping with guys - I told her that I thought her practice of sleeping with MANY guys was just as damaging and destructive to her and her family as her current poor behavior is.

Let me ask you a question. Because I said this to my sister, does that mean that I don't love her? Don't be an idiot. Of course I do. And, it breaks my heart that she continues to make these decisions that impact her life and the life of her family so dramatically.

In the same way, just because I'm willing to say to any homosexual that according to scripture their life style is not right, it doesn't mean that I don't love or care for them. Au contraire. It's because I want the best for them spiritually AND physically that I want them to know that the God of all creation loves them, died for their sin and wants to set them free to live in the liberty of Jesus rather than the bondage of the life style of sin. And yes, I do believe that homosexuality is sin. It doesn't mean that I hate anyone - except the enemy of our souls! Do I always like how homosexual activists get in our face? No. Do I find the public displays of lewdness associated with "gay" pride parades disgusting? YES!. I would also find that kind of public display of lewdness of heterosexual behavior offensive too. Know why? Because either way, it's still sin. Capice?

And still, through it all, I'm not any less tolerant of these people. Is my life different that theirs? Yes. Do I believe they need a personal relationship with Jesus in order to be saved? Yes. And I belive that for ALL people. And for all people I will unashamedly state, I believe that Jesus is the salvation of the world. So, no matter who you are, no matter what your behavior - sexually (hetero or homosexual promiscuity or sex outside of marriage), socially (hate crimes, anger, public drunkeness, drugs, gang wars, murder, spousal abuse, child abuse and murder) or whatever - Jesus can and has forgiven it all. He can forgive your sin and give you a brilliant life of freedom and joy. All you need to do is ask him.

So, right now, let me ask you, pray with me! Don't worry that you're "not good enough" neither was I, or King David who committed murder and adultery or the Apostle Paul who sought out early Christians and stoned them to death before Jesus appeard to them! Right now ask the Lord to save you and give you new life. Say Lord, I know I haven't done right, I know that I've sinned. But Lord, you said you loved the world so much - including ME - that you died on the cross to cover my sins. Jesus, I accept your sacrifice for my sins. And now, according to your very words Lord, I am a NEW creation. My sin is washed away! I have a NEW start!

And how cool is that! Before you go, let me encourage you to let someone know what you've just done. Send me an email. If you need help finding a church that teaches the whole Bible of Gods truth, justice and love, let me know. And remember, this is the first day of the rest of your life. Jesus has set you free! With that you have new opportunities. Sure, you may have bad days. Hey, you've got a whole life time of habits that the Holy Spirit is working on, if you slip, don't worry. Jesus isn't surprised and he's still there ready to hold your hand and help you into the incredible life he has created for you. Read your Bible and PRAY! Every day talk with God (that means pray, that's what prayer is!) and remember to be still sometimes so that he can talk to you, tell you how much he loves you and direct you on the path to his promises!


Thursday, June 08, 2006

AirTran SUCKS (well, not completely it seems)

I received a phone call from AirTran. They will be refunding the full purchase price - not allegedly do to my rant - but because I hadn't spoken to customer service. Right. Actually, I did speak to customer service and I asked to speak to a supervisor and I got voicemail and no call back. Then I did the post and sent the rant. At any rate, AirTran actually stopped acting like heartless automatons with the sensitivity of toilet seats and provided a full refund due to the "extenuating circumstances." OK. I'm not going to argue. They still claim that nothing was their fault - which still irks me - but I don't think it will do any good or change their policy any futher. And I'll give the props for calling me back. Now, will I willinging choose AirTran againin the future? That remains to be seen.


It's not often that I spend time railing against the machine, but this time I'm going
to. I'm also going to make sure I say this as many times in as many places (like podcasts, blogs, local consumer news teams and the like) that I can.

Who knows, maybe that will get AirTran's attention. And, while I may not get my ticket refunded, I'm betting that it's going to cost AirTran a LOT more than the price of my ticket in the end. And, hopefully, the next time someone calls them that has lost a loved one and wants a refund because the AirTran plane was late - they won't act like TOTAL FRACKING IDIOTS and they'll show some compassion to the person on the other end of the phone.