Monday, May 23, 2016
Spiritual Coffee: How Pornography Destroys Pleasure and People - Correcting Others Fairly and Accurately - United Methodists Deconstructed
Today's three resources include professor and author Andy Naselli's seminar confronting pornography use as destroying your mind and ability to enjoy pleasure, along with a solid demonstration that most pornography is produced through sex trafficking. I attended the seminar live, and it was very effective and persuasive. The audio has just been posted online.
(Click on Spiritual Coffee for prior roundups to sharpen and equip your Christian thinking and enlarge your heart.)
This is serious stuff. The truth about pornography is ugly, and some of the content in these audio recordings is intense. Use your judgment in sharing with teens. But they need to know a lot of this. Naselli demonstrates from the Scriptures and from people's experienceshow abusing your sexual desires destroys your ability to think, relate to other people, and enjoy pleasure. In addition, he does a compelling and convicting job of proving that most pornography is actually the result of people being lured into sex trafficking and drugged, manipulated, threatened, and forced to do things on camera. This is serious truth spoken with conviction and concern for the fate of your soul.
Sgt. Grant Snyder, a detective and part of a sex trafficking task force, also gives a chilling and sobering look inside the world of sex trafficking, right in Minneapolis. He shows how people get targeted and lured into it. One of his unforgettable comments is that in the hundreds of interviews he has conducted with people arrested for engaging in prostitution with minors, sex crimes, etc., every single one of them was deep into pornography. It's a sin that only drags you further down and down.
The Gospel in Straw-Men on Chairs, Andrew Wilson (THINK)
Wilson does an excellent job of setting things straight on a recent video by a pastor criticizing the way many view the atonement Christ accomplished on the cross. On top of that, this is really worth your while because Wilson demonstrates how unreasonable and ineffective it is for people to dumb down or misrepresent what other people believe in order to criticize it. He identifies and explains several common errors Christians make when disagreeing with others. He also exposes the limits and distortion that can happen when you try to reduce a complicated theological concept down to a simple illustration or skit. Above all, you must be accurate if you are going to be truthful.
For anyone who wants a thorough comparison and explanation of what various Church Fathers and theologians have believed about the atonement and substitution, chapters 5 and 6 in John Stott's The Cross of Christ are just about definitive.
You may have seen Collin Hansen's article Why I'm No Longer a United Methodist (TGC). To flesh out and expand the understanding of what's happening in America's largest mainline denomination, here is a solid collection of information by Emma Green in The Atlantic. Offered not because I particularly agree with where she's coming from, but because she does an excellent job of providing information and observing a lot of the moving pieces. The contrast between how African Methodist congregations and U.S. congregations are approaching things is significant.
On the Political Leanings of Methodists (Emma Green)
The Divided Methodist Church (Emma Green)
For more perspective, Justin Taylor has excerpts from Timothy Tennent, a United Methodist and president of Asbury Theological Seminary, and a link to his whole report on the conference.