Reading “Surfing For God”
When I was in high school, my best friend’s dad smoked a pipe. Coming from a Baptist family, who were all non-smokers, had only used pipe cleaners in craft projects. I was waiting for Denise one day, at their dining room table and amused myself with what was available.
Now…imagine the horror that she felt when she discovered that I had made little animals out of all of her dad’s pipe cleaners! Imagine my confusion when told her dad used “pipe cleaners” to…well…clean his pipes! She was afraid that her dad would be angry at the wrong use of his pipe cleaners.
There was a legitimate use of the pipe cleaners that I didn’t quite have the experience to “get.”
(this is not a good parallel, but it meant something to me.)
In reading “Surfing for God,” the author, Michael John Cusick, related a story:
My friend Danny is passionate about baseball. He is also deeply committed to working on his soul—understanding his brokenness and walking with Jesus to be restored. In 2005 we drove together to the Colorado Rockies’ opening day game. During our drive he shared that he hadn’t missed an opening day game in years.
Through his involvement in a men’s group, he realized that he “needed” to attend opening day the way an alcoholic needs a drink. Danny had recently discovered that opening day numbed the pain of growing up with an absent father because it symbolized the minimal time and attention his father gave him. His legitimate desire for fatherly involvement attached itself to a designer gift—a legitimate good.
But because attendance at opening day was an attempt to protect himself from the pain of his wound, the legitimate good became a counterfeit good. He was turning stones into bread. The game we attended was the first time his heart was free from the need to be there. (1)
It reminds me of something that C.S.Lewis wrote
If Dualism is true, then the bad Power must be a being who likes badness for its own sake. But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad… But pleasure, money, power, and safety are all, as far as they go, good things.
The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much…I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness.
Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled…In order to be bad he must have good things to want and then to pursue in the wrong way: he must have impulses which were originally good in order to be able to pervert them.(2)
Cusick echoes this:
Every gift from our Designer has a corresponding gift from the deceiver—a “shadow” gift. And you can bet your three hundred ringgits that every deceiver gift is a counterfeit. Satan cannot create anything; he can only take what has been created and twist it against its design. So, we are tempted to overindulge the Designer’s gift of food. We might make a god out of alcohol—turning to it addictively to meet all sorts of inner needs—or maybe we make a god out of not drinking alcohol. We are deceived into believing that deceiver gifts will actually make us flourish.(3)
So, something in the sermon on Sunday reminded me of those pipe cleaners, which triggered the memory of this segment of the book.
I had taken a “thing” with a use – a use for which the thing was made, and made something frivolous of it. I cannot see making animals out of pipe cleaners as “bad” – but it certainly isn’t the intended use.
Food isn’t bad – God gave us the good gift of food. But abusing food twists the good gift into a bad use.
God gave us the good gift of sex, with an intended good use. We can twist that good gift by using it outside of the intended arena.
I’ve written on “lady porn” – trashy romance novels that twist the good gift of romance into mere fodder for emotional flights of fantasy. This abuse of a good gift can twist a marriage into a competition of sorts, where the husband feels the need to live up to the “romance” of his wife wanting to be swept off her feet by a “knight in shining armor.”
More and more current studies show that women share the porn problem with men. Women may get different things from porn than men do, but the problem gets shared. Women twist the good gift of sex and intimacy just as easily as men do.
We begin our journey from slavery to freedom when we expose the counterfeits at the root of our brokenness and admit our thirst for the real thing.(4)
.When a woman uses porn (or lusty romance novels, or food, or anything else) because we thirst for something else…what do we thirst for?
When I feel stressed at work, I do this crazy thing: I hit the quarter machine. You know, you put in a quarter and turn the knob and it gives you 11 or 12 Good~n~Plenties. But I can’t just eat them. I need to line them up…pink and white and pink and white…and I need to eat them in the right order. When I thirst for order and control, I feel that I can quench that thirst by arranging and eating pink and white candies in the right order. That’s some sort of twisted…
Humans twist all sorts of things, and the point of this post centers on porn, but it doesn’t need to…throughout life test all things…do you have the “right use” in mind? or something else?
- Cusick, Michael John (2012-06-05). Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle (Kindle Locations 1174-1183). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
- Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity, Book 2
- Cusick, Michael John (2012-06-05). Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle (Kindle Locations 1183-1187). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
- Cusick, Michael John (2012-06-05). Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle (Kindle Locations 1195-1196). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.