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.

Cusick wrote:

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 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 you have the "right use" in mind?  or something else?


  1. Cusick, Michael John (2012-06-05). Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle (Kindle Locations 1174-1183). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
  2. Lewis, C.S.  Mere Christianity, Book 2
  3. Cusick, Michael John (2012-06-05). Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle (Kindle Locations 1183-1187). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
  4. Cusick, Michael John (2012-06-05). Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle (Kindle Locations 1195-1196). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.


"What Married Women Really Want"

The author puts this mostly hidden divorce statistic up front:

About two-thirds of all divorces in the United States are, at least officially, initiated by women. One of the key factors [they cite] is the emotional quality of their relationships. In other words, if they feel that their marriages are high-quality relationships, they're not likely to seek divorce. If they feel otherwise, however, women are much more likely to head for divorce. One of the implicit concerns of this study was to figure out in what kind of context women are most likely to be happy and then are, of course, indirectly, less likely to divorce.

I get from the article, though, that women file, it's still the men's fault.

The following paragraph is something I've written about here (the accusation that Christians shouldn't discuss "whatever" because Christians are just as likely to get divorced as unbelievers) and you usually need to dig deep if you want to break down the numbers and get at the truth. (Emphasis is mine)

Based on my earlier research, evangelical women tend to be happier in their marriages than other women, particularly when both the wife and the husband attend church on a regular basis. This idea that Christians are just as likely to divorce as secular folks is not correct if we factor church attendance into our thinking. Churchgoing evangelical Protestants, churchgoing Catholics, and churchgoing mainline Protestants are all significantly less likely to divorce.

And gender roles play in:

Women who have more traditional gender attitudes are significantly happier in their marriages. They're more likely to embrace the idea that men should take the primary lead in breadwinning and women should take the primary lead in nurturing the children and managing the domestic sphere, managing family life.

Spouses who share weekly [church] attendance had happier wives. Spouses who share a strong, normative commitment to marriage—that is, who are opposed to easy divorce, who believe the kids should be reared in married households—have wives who are markedly happier. This factor is as strong as who works outside the home or who earns the lion's share of the income. It's also extremely important that the wife considers the division of housework to be fair to her. A sense of equity is extremely important, but equity is not equality. Women want things to be fair in their homes, but they don't equate fairness with equality.

And this bears saying again:

A sense of equity is extremely important, but equity is not equality. Women want things to be fair in their homes, but they don't equate fairness with equality.

I consistently, as Complementarians do, make a distinction between equality of personhood vs. equality of authority.

Within a hierarchy of authority, there is still equality in humanity.

I know two people. One is an elder, who works at a public school, the other an administrator in a public school, who attends the elder's church. In one context, he is the authority, in another, she is. There are two hierarchies, but total equality of humanity.

The dictionary says that "equity" is fairness and justice in treatment.

So, if a woman feels as if she is being treated fairly and justly, while being under the authority of her husband, she is more likely to be happy, and less likely to file for divorce.

1 Comment

A few days ago, Tim Challies wrote a post on "50 Shades of Porn."

I didn't respond before comments were closed, but I wanted to address a few things.

First, I tend to not use the word "porn" - it limits the impact of what is really going on. People hear "porn" and think "pics." If we use the term "erotic material" - we open up a variety of genres...and we eliminate a double standard.

"50 Shades" is not "porn" in the way we normally think of it. It's "erotic material."

Second...Tim Challies wrote:

Women, you need to be aware because the pornographers are coming after you. Yes, you.

Using the term "erotic material" - "historical romance" has been around for a long time. You know the sort, pirates, bad guys, villains...all who steal the tender virgin, ravage her and then steal her heart...and lose their heart to her as well. And, for some women's can tell where the "juicy parts" are by the worn spots in the books.

Why do women get hooked on soap operas? Yeah.

Third: the double standard.

A while ago, Tim posted a poem written by a woman whose husband was a regular (and addicted) user of erotic material. This woman was going back to her very wedding night, imposing what she knows now onto that night and declared everything RUINED! And that notion of years (YEARS) of ruined marriage was not only supported, those who objected to that sort of retroactive grudge were scolded for it.

Can you even imagine what the response would be to a man who caught his wife re-reading for the 20th time the "juicy parts" of that novel, then declaring their wedding night a hurtful thing, because he believed that her thoughts were really on Fabio (or whoever the male model was) when he was making love to her?


When men use erotic material, they're evil, mean, unfaithful and pretty much the scum of the earth.

When women use erotic material, they're victims of a marketing ploy.

Put on your best "Mr Bill" voice:  OHHHH NOOOO!

MSNBC has their collective panties in a bunch.

Women add to the list of voters who are potential casualties of disenfranchisement from restrictive voting laws, as reports show that women have an increasingly difficult path to obtaining proper photo ID.

Evidently, when a woman gets married, divorced, or moves...she's not smart enough to make sure her voter registration gets changed.  Oh?  That happens automatically?  oh....

So, if a woman changes her name or address, her voter registration is changed also?

So, the problem is that the name on her state-issued ID no longer matches her voter registration?  Yeah, that could be a problem.  (In Michigan, the state puts a sticker noting the change right on the back of the ID...problem solved)

But... MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry points out, in an asterisk section at the bottom of the Pennsylvania Department of State Voter ID rules, the requirements reads:

 *In this example a voter who recently changed her name by reason of marriage presents a valid Pennsylvania driver's license or Pennsylvania ID card accompanied by a PennDOT update card, which is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Voter ID law regarding proof of identification.


You mean to say that when you go to get your name or address changed, you get a card that verifies it?  WHEN YOU GET YOUR ID CHANGED, YOU GET THE CARD!!!

Even more amazing, the state seems to think that women are smart enough to hang onto that card.

MSNBC, however, doesn't give women that much credit.

1 Comment

The "slutwalk" is a series of rallies that started when a police constable in Toronto suggested that one way for women to stay safe is to avoid dressing like sluts.

The feminist firestorm was quite impressive.  The beat of the drum began..."we can dress any way we want to."


From Wiki

There have been a number of responses to the SlutWalk phenomenon, not all of them positive. For example, Australian commentator Andrew Bolt observed that guidance on how to dress in any given context is simply risk management, and such advice need not exclude opposition to victim-blaming.[20]Rod Liddle agrees, saying "...I have a perfect right to leave my windows open when I nip to the shops for some fags, without being burgled. It doesn’t lessen the guilt of the burglar that I’ve left my window open, or even remotely suggest that I was deserving of being burgled. Just that it was more likely to happen."

But Jessica Valenti says: "The idea that women’s clothing has some bearing on whether they will be raped is a dangerous myth feminists have tried to debunk for decades."

Mary Kassian responds with Five Problems:

1. It absolves girls of risk-management responsibility:

Using an example from her own hometown, Kassian reinforces the idea that looking like a victim often results in being a victim.

One aspect that was missed in both articles is the statistic (I'm also reading "Rid of My Disgrace") that many women who are sexually assaulted know their attackers.

On one hand, if the attacker is a person who is seen every day, it doesn't matter how a woman dresses.  If the attacker is about power and violence, that will come out, no matter who modestly the woman dresses.

On the other hand, if the attack is what we call "date rape" - if you dress like an invitation, you might get an RSVP.

2. It equates sex with power:

Here's the thing - in the world, sex IS power.  In a world where sexual harassment is defined by how a woman perceives the situation, not by how the man intended it, sex is power.

In a Christian book, where sexual assault is so broadly defined that a man who asked twice for sexual intimacy from his wife, after being refused one is guilty of "assault" - sex IS power.

Is it right?  No, but it IS.

In dressing like sluts (it's the term they want to use) these women who participate are stating that they can openly display their sexuality in any public forum they wish, while men have to deal with it in silence, they are claiming the power.

3. It teaches girls it's cool to be crass

This is the paragraph where Kassian decries the crassness of the word "slut" - I'm not sure I disagree, but there are way worse words out there.  The word has a valid meaning and it's part of our language.

The protesters want to "reclaim" the word.  Considering what the definition is, I'm not sure why all that many people would want to reclaim it.

4. It casts men as oppressors

Get rid of male privilege and you'll get rid of the problem. (...) Female to male domestic violence is statistically just as prevalent as male to female.

Kassian is correct here.  The problem is not male privilege. it's violence.

5.  It encourages sexual permissiveness

Again, correct.  but I think that she gets it a little sideways.

Okay, let me get this straight. SlutWalk thinks that we live in a culture that's too permissive with regards to men forcing women to have sex. But it also thinks that it's healthy for women to be sexually permissive.

She's treating it as a false dichotomy- I don't think it is.

I don't agree with the world's permissive sexual standard, but I see past Kassian's portrayal.

Permissive sex is okay according to the world.  Being FORCED is not.

The final paragraph is spot on.

Sexual violence is a horrific sin. But SlutWalk isn't helping matters any. Sadly, I think it's just shooting women in the foot. It's creating a mindset and culture that exacerbates the very problem it says it wants to solve.






From "The Gender Blog"

The article is mostly good, but when the whopper comes...

Misconception #4: Submission is a right-a husband has the right to demand his wife's submission.

A husband does not have the right to demand or extract submission from his wife. Submission is HER choice-her responsibility... it is NOT his right!! Not ever. She is to "submit herself"- deciding when and how to submit is her call. In a Christian marriage, the focus is never on rights, but on personal responsibility. It's his responsibility to be affectionate. It's her responsibility to be agreeable. The husband's responsibility is to sacrificially love as Christ loved the Church-not to make his wife submit.

My thought is that a Christian man, who has married a woman who claims to be a Christian, has the right to expect her to act like one.  That includes being a submissive wife.

If he has not rights, then he is effectively in a hostage situation.  Not a pleasant place.


She is to "submit herself"- deciding when and how to submit is her call.


The "when" is when she says "I do" on the altar.

The "how" is "as unto the Lord."

Anything other than that is disobedience to the Law of Christ, Scripture and love.  It saddens me to see Kassian teach so.





Things go in cycles and there is a lot of buzz about "porn" right now.

On this blog, I'm going to change the term.  No longer will "it" be called "porn" - I'm going to start using the term:

"sexually explicit material"

How many people really watch soaps for the plot?

How many women really like trashy novels for the accurate history and realistic view of life?

There is a HUGE double standard.  When women use sexually explicit material, it can be okay because...well, it's not "porn" and women are...different.

Sorry, but let's just be real.

Men are visual, women are less so.  Some research seems to say that we're just wired that way.

If men are thinking about what they're seeing and women are thinking about what there thinking and either way, they're getting physical OR mental sexual stimulation from what they are looking at OR reading, the end result is the same.

People are going somewhere other than their spouse for two-dimensional (whether it's computer screen, TV screen, magazine or book) sexual thought patterns.


I'm ending up doing a series on porn.  Since I'm a fan of "Read Your Own Mail" - I'm writing this from the view of a wife whose husband is using porn.

The truth is that this is far, far from being a "male user / women victim" sin.

This is from 2005:

* 34 percent of female readers of Today's Christian Woman's online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn in a recent poll.

From ChristiaNet:

"The poll results indicate that 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography,"

Do more men use porn than women?  yes.

But here's a twist - if you figure in "erotica" - and add the typical "romance novels" to the mix - what figures are you going to get?  How many women who really wouldn't like their husbands to use porn, have a collection of "romance novels" and know exactly where "the good parts" are?

In my view, the bottom line is this:

If you are a wife who is reading fiction and enjoying the fantasy of a "knight in shining armor" - whether or not it's erotica - and if you'd like your husband to be "a little more like that..."

You are every bit as much importing an outside ideal onto your spouse, as is a husband who is looking at air-brushed images on a screen.

So when we write about porn and put all of the blame squarely on men, we're missing half the boat.

I've been reading about porn lately in a number of places and it's time.

I've been single for 9 1/2 years and I've chosen to stay quiet because there are things that I don't want my kids to know.  But I'm pretty confident that they don't read this and there are a few things I need to say.

I read a lot about "his sin" and the innocence of the woman.

Read this:

If the sins of another person focuses our hurt, our wrath, our anger and our "consequences" onto that person...we have missed the point of the Gospel.

Did the sin of my husband hurt me...

any more that **my own sin** hurt the heart of God?

Do I really believe that my own wretched selfish any better than the sin of my husband...that I could hold it over his head in my own reactions of hurt and anger?

Is that the way I want to be treated by God?