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Monthly Archives: November 2012

The cultural and (unfortunately) “Christian” taboo that our bodies are shameful and/or primarily sexual is painfully in evidence at the gym where I work out.

Good Ol’ Days

At my high school in the locker room for gym class, guys stripped, showered, and dried off without ever bothering to wrap in a towel. The same was true at the YMCA I joined while in graduate school. But that was 30+ years ago… and times have changed. Today, at my gym, nearly every man quickly secures a towel around himself just to go back and forth to the showers!

It’s Funny…

It is almost comical to watch. Some guys are so stricken by the fear of someone seeing their bodies that they do a Houdini straight-jacket routine just to change clothes. Before removing pants and underwear the towel goes around first. It sure looks awkward as they undo their belt and zipper, remove their pants, then underwear, all the while trying to keep the towel from falling off. The towel doesn’t come off until they are in the  shower stall and the curtain is pulled. When it is time to dress the procedure is reversed.

 Gymnophobia and Porn

What gives? We’re all guys! Who cares about nudity in the locker room?

I recently counseled a young man in his late teens who was experiencing sexual identity issues. To help him get comfortable with his own body, I suggested that he go to the shower at the gym without wrapping in a towel. He was appalled!  “No one does that!” he said.  In all the time he had been going to the gym with other guys, he had never seen another man totally naked. Nor have they seen him.

Isn’t it a little ironic that we have become so guarded against others seeing our own naked body, and yet many will go straight home and purposefully view naked bodies in sex acts on the internet?

A Connection?

Could there be a connection? If we never see an unclothed human being unless it’s a sexual context… or we never allow our own bodies to be seen unless we are interested in sex, might that explain why we are so squeamish about nudity in a non-sexual context like a locker room? No one wants the locker room visit to be a sexual experience, so everyone keeps covered up. Unfortunately, that just reinforces the nudity/sex connection.

What if… what if… we didn’t have such a strong association between sex and nudity? What if an unclothed person was just that…  a human being without clothes. What if we could treat a man like a man, and a woman like a woman… no matter how much of their body we see?

Then, maybe—just maybe—porn wouldn’t have the profound sexual impact on us that it has today.

— Pastor Bill

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For more on this topic: The Pornographic View of the Body
or My Chains Are Gone

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Breastfeeding_in_public_3God has patience with Christian teachers who support or promote a worldly, sex-obsessed view of female breasts.

How do I know? Because He did with me.

He’s Patient, but Not Passive…

I used to parrot the “moral majority” by defiling my Gospel preaching with a message that unwittingly portrayed women and their breasts as sex objects.

Sadly, this cultural idolatry pervades the American church.

God has already passed judgment on this pornographic view of the body by turning over our nation to the scourge of porn addiction that inevitably results from it.

It’s Cultural, Not Natural

Blind to how culture shapes thinking, many Christians teach that men are compelled by the sin nature to lust at the sight of women’s bodies, especially their breasts. If this doctrine were true, it would eliminate from fallen humanity all societies where breasts are customarily naked in public, yet such societies exist.

This ridiculous falsehood is further exposed by the response to it from these cultures themselves.

Breasts Are for Babies, Not Men

Carolyn Latteier, the author of Breasts, The Women’s Perspective on an American Obsession, wrote,

We do have a peculiar obsession with breasts in this culture. A lot of people think it’s just the human nature to be fascinated with breasts, but in many cultures breasts aren’t sexual at all. I interviewed a young anthropologist working with women in Mali, a country in Africa where women go around with bare breasts. They’re always feeding their babies. And when she told them that in our culture men are fascinated with breasts, there was an instant of shock. The women burst out laughing. They laughed so hard, they fell on the floor. They said, “You mean, men act like babies?

They’re Beautiful, Not Sexual

This false theology may sound funny to them, but to me it’s emasculating. As a man who has helped tens of thousands of women nurse their newborns, I’ve never lost any male appreciation for the beauty of breasts or for the part they play in God’s awesome design of femininity.

Yet, even at the outset of my nursing career, I realized I wasn’t reacting to them in the lustful way I’d been taught to expect! My culture had fed me a lie, and that deception came most consistently from the same lips that preached the Christian Gospel.

Repentance… Not Prudery

The bottom line is “we’ve acted like babies!”—not in a ludicrous way that makes bare-breasted women in Mali laugh—but with such utter immaturity that we should be shedding tears.

  • How could we—while claiming to honor the Creator—so decadently degrade His anatomical wisdom and artistic design in the female breast?
  • How could we—by social and religious precept—lead generation after generation of children to turn their natural, wholesome attraction to breasts into a lifelong perverted obsession?

This ungodly behavior calls for repentance!

Mistaken “Modesty” promotes Lust, Not Purity

Immodesty isn’t the occasionally naked breast but the exploited one, strategically hidden or partially revealed by social custom. The habit of making breasts visible only for sexual activity socially defines them as avenues of sexual enticement.

More modesty is shown when they’re laid bare for nursing on a crowded subway, exposed for modeling in an art class, or uncovered for sunning on a clothing optional beach.

Treating unclad body parts realistically and respectfully is always modest. But when clothing is unnaturally trusted as a moral prevention for lust, then immodesty infects a whole culture, as it has ours. Our mistaken morality wraps the body up in a fantasy that tempts sinners and saints alike. I believe God abhors it.

God’s View, Not the World’s

Did you grow up with our culture’s pornographic view of breasts. Your only hope of expelling it from your mind and heart is by learning to see breasts the way their Designer does. His view is the truth, and only the truth will set you free.

— Pastor David

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For more on this topic:
Teaching God’s Design for Breasts—A Message about the ‘Visible Breast’ for Christian Leaders and The Pornographic View of the Body

This article is also found on Pastor David’s Blog.

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Kerri and MistyThey’re wearing bikinis!

My wife and I enjoyed watching the Olympics. As volleyball fans, we made a special effort to watch as many of the beach and indoor matches as we could.

One day, while watching Kerri and Misty continue their Olympic “undefeated” streak, one of my 11 year-old son’s friends came to the house. He ambled into our family room, and upon seeing the ladies playing volleyball in their two-piece “bikini” outfits, this prepubescent boy let out an involuntary yelp and fled the room.

What just happened???

Can it really be that we are so thoroughly indoctrinating our children with a sexually objectified view of the female form that—before they even know what sexual feelings are(!!)—they have learned to treat the sight of female skin as evil… or dangerous? … disgusting? … a sight to be fled?

The simple sight of human skin has been falsely defined as a forbidden sexual experience. And when we treat it that way, that’s exactly what it becomes!!

Fast forward a few years and guess what it’s going to be like when porn reaches that young man for the first time (and reach him, it will)… that first adrenaline-laden exposure to nudity will trigger a powerful sexual experience that he will remember the rest of his life.

How do I know? I still remember when it happened to me…

… and so began my own 30+ year struggle with porn.

Moms and Dads… if you want to inoculate your kids against porn, make sure their first and only exposure to the unclad human form isn’t from pornography.

— Pastor David Martin

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For more on this topic: The Lies That We Have Believed—Lie #2

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Creation_of_Eve_by_William_BlakeVictory over sin is short-lived when God’s truth is traded for lies.

God’s Kingdom is founded on truth. Only submission to “the God of truth” brings spiritual redemption (Psalm 31:5). Deception led us into sin. Truth alone leads us out (John 8:32). If a lie gives you apparent relief, it will be only temporary. This is why so many fail to find freedom from pornography through strategies based on the lie of body shame.

The Creator of our bodies uses the truth of body acceptance to free people from the chains of porn.

But knowing the truth intellectually isn’t enough. Truth must be internalized. Traditional approaches to porn addiction focus on the external, trying to control what is seen. God wants to plant His “truth in the inward being,” teaching us His “wisdom in the secret heart” (Psalm 51:6, ESV), changing how we see.

The Undraped Body Is Not Perverted

When the God of truth spoke creation into existence, He deemed everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31), including naked male and female bodies. The sin of our first parents didn’t change the truth about that goodness. All parts of the human form are still “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

It was the heart—not our gender-specific anatomy—that became corrupt:

  • A sinfully perverted perception of the body usurped our Sovereign Maker’s evaluation.
  • Misled human reasoning replaced the truth of God with a lie.
  • What was pure in God’s creative reality became pornographic in the human imagination.

Debunking the Doctrine of Body Shame

If the Fall intrinsically distorted how humans perceive nakedness, cultural history would demonstrate this change universally. It doesn’t.ordinary nudity

Modern responses to nudity, in the context of art, healthcare, or cross-cultural experience, also fail to substantiate this popular religious doctrine. In such cases, the absence of automatic sexual arousal at the sight of the nude body disproves the inevitable lust predicted by this teaching.

Actually, these ordinary naked situations affirm the original goodness God saw in bare bodies. They prove that body shame is culturally learned, not humanly inherited. If it was inborn, all descendants of Adam would naturally have it. Since they don’t, this doctrine must be false.

Repenting of Cultural Idolatry

Allegiance to this dysfunctional cultural standard undermines God’s truth about our bodies. Under pressure to conform to false thinking in a fallen world, we must surrender our bodies to God (Romans 12:1, 2). The truth of body acceptance liberates us by the power of Him Who embodied Truth (John 14:6), God Incarnate (1 Timothy 3:16), the Word made flesh (John 1:14).

Our male and female bodies, just as God made them, play a central role in His creation plan. Let the truth about them displace all distorted images with His image. Make a radical departure from cultural falsehood into a life where the God of truth—and the truth of God—dispel all lies. This the way out of porn.

— Pastor David

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For more on this topic:
The Pornographic View of the Body and My View on Nudity.

Feel free to Leave a Comment on this post.

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