Archive for February 2010

The Intention of Mental Pursuit

February 19, 2010

This post is the 9th in a series about addiction recovery. If you are not an addict or married to one, then this probably won’t make much sense. To see a list of the entire series from the beginning, go to this page.

This being the day of Tiger Woods’ press conference, I can’t help but think about my own addiction and recovery. I flipped through my addiction journal and ran across something I thought would make a helpful post today.

In his book Breaking Free, author Russell Willingham writes,

Not everyone who struggles with a sexual problem is dealing with an addiction. Some of what passes for lust is testosterone, not moral weakness. Are men, therefore, not responsible to rein it in? Of course they are. Matthew 5:28 says, “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” What the Lord didn’t say was “If you see a beautiful woman and feel an inward pull – you’ve sinned!” In other words, simply noticing an attractive woman and responding emotionally is not lust. It’s the second look, taken with the intention of mental pursuit, that is adulterous.

The underlined phrase really caught my attention the first time I read it. What does the intention of mental pursuit mean?

The author goes on with an example about hunger. Hunger is a physiological symptom. If you are driving around town at 1pm and have not eaten lunch yet, what happens when you drive by the fast food restaurant and smell the burgers and fries? If you’re like most men, the reaction is immediate and involuntary. Your stomach will growl, your mouth salivates, and a sense of weakness washes over you. Now, you may pull in to the restaurant or you may drive on by (your action taken based on the stimulus), but you have no control over what happens inside your body in that moment.

Now, he goes on to explain that sexual desire is not quite the same thing as hunger, but it serves an illustrative purpose. The physiological response is separate from the action taken.

To feel shame and guilt about an initial attraction makes about as much sense as condemning yourself for being hungry at one in the afternoon. It’s how you handle that initial attraction and where you go with it that decides the morality of your choice.

This tension between biology and stupid choices was written about perfectly in the book Ten Stupid Things Men Do To Mess Up Their Lives by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She writes:

  • Whereas biology calls for immediate relief and gratification of sexual tensions, human beings develop greater self-respect and sexual regard for others when they feel they are masters of their urges, not the other way around.
  • Whereas biology calls for immediate relief and gratification of sexual tensions, thoughtful men consider the consequences of inappropriate emotional attachments.
  • Whereas biology provides the beauty and excitement of sensual and sexual pleasures, men ultimately realize that the real thrill comes from the love and acceptance from a woman in a committed relationship.
  • Whereas biology provides the initial feelings of rapture and infatuation, men, by virtue of their obligations to their woman and their children, determine to trade serial rapture for the satisfaction of having someplace to feel safe, wanted, and valued for more than what their sex organs can supply.

So what do you think? Do you agree with Willingham’s interpretation of Matthew 5:28?

What does the phrase “the intention of mental pursuit” mean to you?

Why do you think many men can’t seem to overcome their “biological pull” as Dr. Laura describes it?

–Jeremy

The Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

February 15, 2010

UPDATE TWO 12/16/10: Yesterday, the house passed the clean version of the bill to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Today, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) lent his support to the bill, meaning the Senate now has the 60 votes needed to pass it.

UPDATE 9/18/10: Harry Reid, in response to pressure from Lady Gaga’s public comments via twitter, has agreed to schedule a vote to repeal DADT on Tuesday 9/21. In response to this news, Sen. John McCain has threatened to filibuster.

Regular readers of my blog know that I go through seasons on political posts. Sometimes, like in the few months leading up to Election 2008, political posts were quite dominant. At other times, like the days since the election, I haven’t felt real motivated to dive into those topics. In fact, the last politically themed post I wrote was nearly a year ago on March 11 about New Federalism.

But I’m feeling some drive today to address an interesting topic – that of Gays in the Military. (Same-sex? Homosexuals? LGBT’s? I’m not sure which politically correct term is hot right now). There has been buzz in the last few days about President Obama repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy – which was instituted in 1993 by Congress, with support from President Clinton. There seems to be quite a bit of energy surrounding the topic – from both sides of the political aisle. Just yesterday, former Vice-President and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney openly supported the repeal (see the Politico article). We can only assume that his position might have something to do with the fact that his own daughter is lesbian.

I’m going to say something that may shock you if you thought you knew my political and spiritual background:

I support the complete repeal of the policy and think gays should be able to serve openly in our military.

I can imagine the shocked hand-wringing from my friends on the right and the standing ovation from my friends on the left right now, but you should understand my reasoning before you get too emotional about my statement. Here is my primary reason for supporting such a policy:

Being a Bible-believing Christian, I am of the opinion that homosexuality is a “sexual sin” that belongs in the same category with adultery, pornography, lust, and pre-marital sex. Understanding that, would we be willing to support the ban of adulterers, porn addicts, the lustful, and anyone who has pre-marital sex from serving in the military? Unless your answer is yes, then the argument should stop right here. Let them serve.

Now let me try to pre-emptively answer some of the counter-arguments that are bound to come.

Q: Does this mean rapists and child-molesters and sexual abusers should also serve? Those are also “sexual sins.”
A: No. Adultery, pornography, lust, and pre-marital sex, while sexual sins, are LEGAL. Rape, molestation, and abuse are CRIMINAL. We should not allow sexual criminals to serve – regardless of their sexual orientation.

Q: Does this mean you also support Same-Sex Marriage?
A: No. In my opinion, marriage is a spiritual matter, not a civil one. God instituted the concept of marriage and His definition is a man and a woman.

Q: Would you support a gay Pastor or Priest?
A: No. Would you support an unrepentant adulterer, or someone who refuses to refrain from pre-marital sex as a Pastor?

Q: How should Christians treat homosexuals?
A: “But God demonstrates his love for us in this that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
A: “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7
A: Jesus ate with and hung out with sinners. Mark 2:16

In short, we are to Lead with Love. Lead as in to lead-off, to go first, to lead the way, to initiate, be proactive, the very first thing you should do is -LOVE THEM. Be a friend. Fellowship with them. Go out to lunch with them. Ask them to share their story with you, and then you share your story with them. BE JESUS TO THEM. You know – the way we’re supposed to treat EVERYONE!