Part 2: Pornography & the Not So Sacred Wedding Vows
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4
So what is Junk Christianity? In the introduction to this series, I described the phrase in several ways. Whether a church is more fascinated with societal statuses, or haughty eyes stare in disgust of those who sin differently than they do- Junk Christianity unfortunately exists. Marinated in hypocrisy and seared in legalism, the Pharisees and Sadducees of our time can inflict pain upon people.
Most ministers I know are fulfilling their commissioned duties with integrity. These individuals take the calling seriously; copiously understanding that God qualifies the called…not calls the qualified. Pastors are sinners too. A genuine church is merely a messed up group of reprobates trying to “get it right” with Jesus. While Junk Christianity concerns only a select few, the pugilists within the pews often attract the most attention.
This five part series will address several issues. From living a two-faced bogus faith to exploring what Jesus really meant with the words, “Do not Judge,” in Matthew 7. However, to commence this unfolding, I have decided to begin with one foundation of humanity: The Christian Home and Marriage. Through the release of these columns, More Than Judas hopes to offer a refreshing take on Christianity anchored in Scripture, faith found in Christ alone, and authenticity.
BUT FIRST: Before I scrutinize the lost sanctity of the wedding vows, allow me to say this- I have many friends who have experienced the worst imaginable relationships. Whether their spouses were abusive, cheated, or chose a world of drugs and alcohol over their spouses, the journey was horrific. Unfortunately, these husbands and wives were victims of broken hearts. For that I am terribly sorry- their futile actions are not your fault.
Conversely, I have friends who were the ones that made the mistakes. Whatever the shortcomings, their marriage failed as a result. To that individual, I would say God’s grace is sufficient for all no matter the fault. Moreover, one failure does not define who you are in life. The Lord is still very much in the business of restoring lives.
Furthermore, I recognize these situations involve multiple dynamics which are not going to be mentioned- they usually do. However, this column of Junk Christianity is not a stone throwing contest for those failed marriages from a Pharisaical Chair. We all have our bags of bones. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Every relationship has issues and snags. Instead, this is an evaluation stemming from hundreds of conversations that have taken place within pastoral confidentiality. This piece is not an attack on anyone particular- but rather reckoning as to why this issue is occurring in the Christian Community.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
According to a 2017 Pew Research Poll which surveyed 35,000 Americans from all fifty states, an astonishing 74% of the adults who were divorced or separated were Christian. 51% of those people were Protestant, 19% were Catholic, and the remaining percentage would be categorized as “other.”
Whether Christian or secular, this is a stark reality. No longer are simply the unbelievers getting divorced, but the Christ Follower is too.
Though, allow me to first preface this next section with a confession. Anyone who knows me personally would agree I can often be very straightforward. This is both a strength and a weakness for me. I’m not afraid of conflict or gracefully exchanging blows if necessary. However, I’d rather always be the guy you know where and how you stand, rather than the guy who sends mixed messages.
So allow me to be forthright…
Sexual Addictions will always be my Achilles tendon. I use this phrase out of respect for my wife, and for the fact that I find Christians who brag of their sin in specific terms extremely annoying. Nevertheless, this phrase includes an assortment of acts, such as: sex, strip clubs, porn…and you get the gist. If over-the-top candor was a strength of all men, I personally believe that 98% of males would more than likely stand in my corner.
ALSO KNOW THIS: I am not speaking from some hollier than thou hilltop. I’m just a dude in the trenches with mud on his face, with battle wounds to show, whose been deemed a failure by Satan a billion times before in this life, but thankfully washed wholly by the Blood of Jesus Christ. At 37 years old, I have the internet freedom of a toddler. Parental protection is on every device I own, and I don’t know one FREAK’IN password. Though for me that’s living a surrendered life, and just part of the fight.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” Ephesians 5:22
Problem # 1: We Live in a Porn-i-fied World
Sex is everywhere. At the click of a mouse or swipe of a debit card, instant gratification is available. Consequently, marriage is no longer the sacred institution that it once was. Skin is no longer taboo. Everything from Instagram to XXX banners sex. Thongs, lingerie, and washboard abs have become the new normal for a desensitized society. Before long, I am sure Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will parade Daisy in a two-piece bikini. Sadly, our world probably would not bat an eye.
I remember growing up as a kid in the 90’s. Amidst the exploding porn scene and Skin-O-Max that flourished throughout the decades (and admittedly, often caught the attention of teenage boys like myself burning with fresh hormones), there still muzzled an honest side of television. Sitcoms such as Home Improvement, Full House, Family Matters, and reruns of Mash helped coil my imagination to the difficulties of life beyond HBO’s Real Sex.
Anchored in wholesome morals, these theatrical spectacles were comical and practical. Even Roseanne Barr in today’s television might appear more like an aphrodisiac of innocence than a rebel without a cause. The older I get, the more I realize just how normal the Conner Family actually was. Although, it seems as though that sense of purity within media has fizzled away. However minor it may have once been, the virtue seems extinct.
If I am a married man attempting to have eyes for only my wife, then carelessly searching the internet might feel more like swimming with a pool of alligators than anything else. This action affects how the husband views his wife sexually and emotionally…and vice versa. In other words, I cannot be wholly invested in her well-being, if my mind is occupied with the latest Instagram model or porn flick.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Problem # 2: Communication
Couples nowadays do not communicate well. Technology is one culprit in this matter. Never before have there been more opportunities for spouses to hide from each other- Facebook, Netflix, video games, all open doorways to avoidance. Furthermore, I believe technology has distorted our way of communicating to one another. I have no scientific proof to back this claim…merely an observation.
Why is there a disconnection in communication? Imagine if I made a comparison between the gender’s brains and a computer screen. A woman’s brain would more than likely have a few dozen things going on at once. That computer processer would seriously be working hard. She’d have thirty different internet screens pulled up at once. Pop-up advertisements would be flashing like crazy. Her email would be cluttered. Lastly, music might be blaring in the background.
Conversely, the man’s computer screen would be on ESPN. Nothing else. Men do one thing at a time. We do not multi-task because we don’t know how. Additionally, the methods in which we express our emotions and solve problems are different too. Women want to engage. They want security, stability, and intimacy. My wife wants me to stare in her eyes and divulge my problems in a moment of blissful Kum-ba-ya. I’m not like that. Truthfully, men are wretchedly helpless when it comes to this trade. Most men communicate about as well as a clan of gorillas. We whimper, beat our chests, grunt, and howl. Harambe is proud no doubt. Ultimately, this creates confusion and issues when communicating. God made us totally different from one another.
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” Proverbs 31:10
Problem # 3: Jesus is Missing
Sure, from the exterior, the relationship may appear Christian. You may even attend church together on occasion. But when is the last time you and your wife prayed together? Have you and her ever kneeled before the Lord in prayer? Tell me the last biblical conversation the two of you had over a family dinner. All in all, Jesus is widely missing from even the marriages that seem godly from the surface. Of all the couples I’ve spoken with, the one commonality was this: Jesus was not truly present.
A successful marriage takes three to be present- with Christ centered as the anchor of the foundation. Just one person cannot be willing for this to occur. Both parties must surrender to this notion. Furthermore, more Christian couples are living together prior to marriage than ever before. I get it. You are in love. In college Stefanie and I played “house” as well. We were young and both in a different place in our relationship with Christ. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, she had her home to go to and I had mine. Legally we had separate addresses.
Living together creates a whole other dynamic within a relationship that is not biblical. Quite often, a couple will ask me to officiate their wedding. When the fact surfaces that the two live together, my response is always, “Okay. In order for me to do the ceremony, he will have to sleep on the couch or the basement…and no sex.” Sadly, most of the time I never hear back.
The secret to marriage is this: “Those who pray together stay together.” When both sets of eyes are on Jesus, they are not starring at their own reflections in the mirror. Inevitably, selfish desires are laid aside, and our partner becomes the priority.
“And the two shall become one flesh ‘So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10: 8-9
Marriage is No Easy Endeavor
This past summer I was forced into an extremely difficult conversation with a good friend. He is someone I’d consider family. I love him like a brother. After painfully deliberating in prayer, I concluded that I would not be able to marry him and his fiancé. When dialogues occur as such with brides, there will be blood. Months later there is still tension. Anger seethes from her eyes when I see the couple in church- pure hatred.
Again, I get it. I probably would not like myself either. Yet the issues could not be ignored: deeply rooted matters concerning family dynamics affecting one’s perspectives of intimacy…possible depression…and a loss of joy in her life. Moreover, both parties acknowledged the fact that they were not diving into prayer and the Word of God as they should. Ignoring matters before entering into a marriage can be detrimental to the relationship.
I suggested biblical counseling and even time apart if necessary; whatever the situation took for each to clear their minds, rather than being at each other’s throats. In the end, it’s easier for her to hate me rather than to realize the truth of what I was saying. Marriage can feel like an uphill battle at times. It is an arduous undertaking. Hardships will come. But if both individuals do not have their eyes fixed on Jesus, the hardships will seem like impossibilities. A person’s personal issues do not disappear when you say “I do.” Our divorce rates within the Christian Community are a testimony to this reality.
Hopefully one day she will realize my viewpoint. God is holding me accountable. Marriage is His holy institution that serves as a reflection of Christ’s love for the Church. Contrary to her emotions, I do love her as well. In fact, I love them too much to have lied to their faces, and simply allow them to become another statistic. I can handle her hating me; if our dialogue served as a wake-up call, and the couple lives happily ever after, it was all worth it. That is my prayer.
“However, let each of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
Marriage is hard. Possibly the most challenging passage in life one will ever take. Nevertheless, the commitment can be one of the most rewarding experiences ever as well. The porn-i-fied world we live in requires complete attention on Jesus Christ. He must be the vessel we communicate through to one another. There is no place for porn in the marriage bed. Satan wants nothing more than to destroy Christian Marriages- and based off of those statistics mentioned in the pew research, up to this point, he has been successful. That is why a couple must allow Jesus to be the foundation in their relationship, because no one is perfect. Therefore, God’s truth must be the anchor of the words “I do.”
“…let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
Part One- Christian Marriages: Pornography & the not so sacred wedding vows.
Part Two- Judging: What do the words “Do not judge…” in Matthew 7: 1-5 really mean?
Part Three-The Pugilist within the Pews: The Christian judger and hypocrite.
Part Four- Christian None’rs: Following Christ from the couch.
Part Five- The Shallow Surface Preacher: The breakdown of the podiums and the withering pews.