God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

Archive for December 10th, 2006

My painful purge

Posted by Martin on December 10, 2006

I’m no puritan, but recently it’s struck me that I have an awful lot of expensive plastic sitting on my shelves, completely unused, and occasionally still shamefully shrink-wrapped. I’m talking of course about my DVD collection, which, thanks to an obsessive compulsive personality which I am only now beginning to control, is obscenely huge.

Sure, I own lots of my favourite movies – everyone does.  And as a youth worker, I think it’s fairly legitimate that I own a bunch of films which can be useful in triggering discussion with young people, such as Spider-man and Forrest Gump.

But why on earth do I own a copy of Ang Lee’s Hulk? Or in a similar vein, Fantastic Four? Why did I buy (and never, ever sit down to watch) The Abyss: 2 Disc Collector’s Edition. And I’m not even sure I know what Bubba Ho-Tep is!

So I’ve sat down this morning – as an act of Sunday worship, if you will – to try to bring my collection down to a more reasonable size. And with classics like the ones I’ve mentioned in there, it looked like an easy task. Yet if I’m honest, it’s still a wrench. Why am I finding it hard to throw away Dodgeball? I am never going to watch it again. If I was stuck on a desert Island with only a DVD player and a copy of the movie, I’d probably just build sandcastles for eternity. Yet I don’t want to throw it away. Why?

I’m not sure of the answers. All I know is that our possessions have more of a hold over us than we sometimes like to believe. At the moment, I’ve managed to pull just 17 rejects out of a collection of around 400. I’m trying to add to that number, but right now, decisions like – King Arthur or Last of the Mohicans? – feel like Sophie’s Choice.

Ooh – Sophie’s choice. That’s a classic – I should so order it on DVD…

Posted in Movies, Spiritual is everything | 2 Comments »

Britney Spears’ crotch mania! Part 3!

Posted by Martin on December 10, 2006

My two recent posts on Britney Spears account for about 90% of the current traffic on this blog, and over half of the traffic I’ve received since I started writing this thing back in October. Make of that what you will, but one thing is for sure – most of the people who have come here in that time, were not looking for what I actually had to offer.

Once again – I do not have any pictures of Britney getting out of a car and exposing herself on this blog. Sorry.

Because the rather excellent WordPress blogging software allows me to see the search terms used to find their way here, I know exactly what those people were looking for (and also, I’m not stupid). And some of those people will have been browsing out of pure intrigue – having heard about Britney’s big no-knickers expose from another source. But I think it’s a safe bet that many, and even most of the people who typed in those search terms, were used to looking for images of a sexual nature on the internet.

Maybe you’re one of those people. Maybe you habitually surf the net looking for pornographic pictures. And honestly, I in no way want to judge you. If you think that’s healthy and fine and one of the beautiful things about the liberated society that many of us live in, then I’m not about to tell you that you’re wrong. It’s not my opinion, but it’s yours, and you are totally entitled to it – that’s certainly one of the beautiful things about the society that many of us live in.

But if you don’t think it’s healthy; if you don’t feel totally happy about the fact that you look at porn, then I do have something which I want to say to you. My opinion (since you’ve stayed with me this far, I’ll assume it’s ok to share it) is that internet pornography is one of the darkest, most unpleasant and least healthy forces in modern culture. That’s not to say that I believe masturbation is some great sin, placed right at the top of God’s hierarchy of bad things. But the industry which – for want of a better word – supplies that demand, is neither healthy nor normal.

Considering the size and reach of the porn industry, that’s a bit like saying something nasty about the Mafia. But it’s what I believe, and I doubt they care too much anyhow.

I guess, since I’m a youth worker, my biggest concern is what this porn-saturated culture is doing to young people. Don’t for a moment believe anything other than this truth: kids have access to all the porn they could ever want. With so many television, Internet and mobile platforms offering so many opportunities to access pornography – a market that has been swollen greatly by the paying adults of course – concerned adults are never going to be able to cut young people off at the source. If they want to find the Paris Hilton sex tape, they’ll be able to find it through one channel or another.

So kids of a frighteningly young age are developing internet porn addictions. For many of them, it’s just treated as the norm – and of course, since so many of the adults are also addicted, no-one is telling them anything different.

What do I believe porn does to young people? I believe firstly, it can warp their view of sex. Before they’ve ever experienced it, they are shown that normal sex is brutal, humiliating, boundary-pushing, and male-dominated. There’s an awful lot of dysfunction to be found there, and young people can become sexually numbed before they’re even had a sexual experience.

Second – it induces massive feelings of guilt. Like any addiction, the tempted person can only think about one thing – until that thirst has been satisfied. Then, as soon as it has been, regret, guilt and self-loathing appear on the scene. Masturbation ends with a sexual climax. In the context of a loving sexual relationship, the climax is then followed by warm feelings, closeness, and an afterglow. In the context of masturbation however, there is none of this. The person is on their own, and acutely aware of it. Hotels often offer pornographic movies for discreet purchase to their guests. The average amount of time they are watched for is 12 minutes. Even though they have spent up to £10 to purchase the film, the consumer is immediately overcome by guilt and regret. They have no desire to watch any more.

So for those reasons alone – and there are of course more – I think it’s important that we try harder to protect young people from pornography, and to offer them practical help if they’re struggling with it. But we can’t hope for that kind of change to take place unless the adults are modelling the same thing. And many adults, incidentally, are suffering in the same ways that I’ve just outlined.

According to research, around half of the world’s regular web users look at pornography more than once a month. The top Internet search term in the world, according to Microsoft, is ‘sex’. And according to Alexa Internet Research, users search for ‘sex’ more than other terms such as ‘games,’ ‘travel,’ ‘music,’ ‘jokes,’ ‘cars,’ ‘weather,’ ‘health’ and ‘jobs’ combined. I guess that means that if the last person who looked at this post didn’t regularly look at Internet porn, then statistically speaking, maybe you do.

So if you’ve made it this far, I’m going to go even further and offer a couple of suggestions to help you move away from that habit or addiction – if indeed that applies to you, and it’s what you want.

First, if you know someone else who wants to ‘kick the habit’, you can both download free ‘accountability software’ from this site – http://www.xxxchurch.com/. What it does is keep a record of all the web pages you visit during a fortnight, and then at the end of that period, sends a list of those sites to your friend. The idea is that the thought that your friend will be watching can act as a deterrent, keeping you on the nice clean sports sites instead.

Second, you can get hold of good quality software such as Net Nanny to help your computer to keep you away from adult sites. Of course, there are ways of circumventing it and even switching it off, but again, at least the deterrent is there.

Third, I’d like to offer to pray for you. If you drop me an email at: godismydirector@gmail.com, with maybe your first name and any message (or even just a fake name!), then I promise I’ll pray for you, and ask the God who I believe intervenes in lives today to help you personally.

If you don’t struggle with Internet porn, then please be aware of its impact, and don’t buy for one second the lie told in many areas of culture that it’s ‘not that bad.’ Even from my limited knowledge, some of the pornographic content on the Internet is the stuff of the pit of Hell. Please be an active force in modelling a porn-free life to young people; a culture in which looking regularly at hardcore pornography isn’t ‘normal.’

And now, I solemnly swear, no further posts with that title. If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and I pray it will have been of some help to you that I wrote these words.

Posted in Spiritual is everything | 7 Comments »