Archive for May, 2012

Overcoming Sexual Sin (Video 5 of 9)

This is the fifth video in a nine part series entitled “False Love: Overcoming Sexual Sin from Pornography to Adultery.” False Love has a complementing seminar entitled “True Betrayal: Overcoming the Betrayal of Your Spouse’s Sexual Sin.” For more information on either seminar, please follow the links provided.

False Love: Step 5 from Equip on Vimeo.

The follow quotes are part of the teaching notes being referenced.

STEP 5
CONFESS TO THOSE AFFECTED for harm done and seek to make amends.

“Making oneself transparent to another person is one of the difficult things that must be done. A man may institute all of the other steps outlined in this book into his life, but if he hedges on this one, all other efforts might prove to have been in vain (p. 63).” Steve Gallagher in At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry

“I hadn’t asked her before bringing this sin into our home. If she was going to live with the consequences of it, then she had the right to determine what she needed to know. If we had any chance of rebuilding this marriage, there was no more room for lies or half-truths. In our groups, we answer more questions related to talking during adultery recovery than any other subject. We might have thought trust or forgiveness or even sex would come up most often, but, in reality, conversation is the bridge that can deliver trust, forgiveness, and sex (p. 148).” Gary & Mona Shriver in Unfaithful

“Confession includes two important aspects: (1) Confession brings secrets to the light of day so we drain them of their power… (2) Confession allows God and a caring person to see our ugliness and still love us… It is usually not healthy to make our wives our only accountability partners or our primary confessors (p. 339).” Doug Rosenau in A Celebration of Sex

“I have heard people tell me many times that they do not have anyone to confess to. What they were really saying is that they were not desperate enough to seek out someone that might be able to assist them (p. 75-76).” Steve Gallagher in At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry

“Building real relationships of love with real people is crucial to the transformation of your imagination. You have spent way too much time in your private fantasy world. A world of honest, constructive relationships await (p. 24)… The Bible is full of stories about sexual sin, and they are told in a way that leaves us without illusions, but is never arousing or morbid (p. 27).” David Powlison in Sexual Addiction

Confession Tool from Step 5: Confession Guide for Sexual Sin

Marriage Evaluation: Knowing Each Other & Having Healthy Expectations

How often has a married couple said to each other, “I don’t feel like I know you like I used to,” or defensively, “Why would you think that?” These kinds of statements reveal that the spouses quit learning one another and that their expectations were either not communicated or unhealthy.

In the first of three sections in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations” seminar we will seek to answer two broad questions to set the stage for the rest of the seminars. What makes marriage hard? What makes marriage work?

This evaluation (Marriage Evaluation_Knowing Each Other & Healthy Expectations) is meant to help couples see what they need to focus on in this first section.

Several of the plumb lines from this first section will include:

  • Character is a better predictor of marital satisfaction than compatibility.
  • You will be married to at least a dozen people over the course of one marriage.
  • We don’t need higher or lower expectations; we need healthy and articulated expectations.
  • The “ordinary” moments of marriage are often the most significant moments in a marriage.
  • The best spouse is the best learner, so we will never “arrive” as a spouse.
  • We will have to take the risk of being known before we experience the joy of being loved.
  • If we are going to do marriage enrichment well, it must be a lifestyle connected with our life purpose.
  • A thriving marriage is lived in a story larger than either spouse, or even both spouses combined.

In this first section you will learn to:

  • Identify the 20 most common challenges to enjoying a gospel-centered marriage
  • Tell your marriage/life story so that you can put the gospel at the center of it
  • Celebrate the non-moral differences in your marriage as a way of worshiping God as Creator instead of fighting about them as if your preferences were sovereign.

At the end of this section we would want

you to realize:

It would be easy to be overwhelmed and think that a good marriage requires a perfect spouse. When we’re honest, we quickly realize how far short we fall from being a perfect spouse. But Jesus put this kind of high standard before anyone who wanted to be his disciple, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).” His purpose, however, wasn’t discouragement, but revival.

That is the aim of a gospel-centered approach to marriage. We want more than marital enrichment. We want marital revival! We desperately need an intense awakening to what God called marriage to be; not a mere nudging towards more functional principles. The general condition of marriage in our culture cries out to God for a radical transformation of our “common sense” and “best practices” about marriage, because they’re not working.

If we are going to seek a gospel-centered marriage, we must realize such an endeavor will cast us to our knees begging God for the grace, strength, and wisdom to bless our spouse and homes in ways that we are, in ourselves, utterly incapable and sometimes even unwilling to do. But from our knees we will find that God is both willing and capable to give the kind of marriage we could have never had on our feet.

That brings us to one final virtue that is absolutely necessary to experience and enjoy a gospel-centered marriage – humility.

Marriage is a journey from our weakness (both spouses) to God’s strength. Due to the affects of sin, many of our weaknesses are exaggerated strengths. So even our strengths must be handled with humility or they betray us and our marriage. But when handled with humility even our weaknesses become a blessing to our marriage. It is only the gospel that will teach us to view life this way.

Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations
Dates: June 23 and 30, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free

Overcoming Sexual Sin (Video 4 of 9)

This is the first video in a nine part series entitled “False Love: Overcoming Sexual Sin from Pornography to Adultery.” False Love has a complementing seminar entitled “True Betrayal: Overcoming the Betrayal of Your Spouse’s Sexual Sin.” For more information on either seminar, please follow the links provided.

False Love: Step 4 from Equip on Vimeo.

The follow quotes are part of the teaching notes being referenced.

STEP 4
REPENT TO GOD for how my sin replaced and misrepresented Him.

“People should repent, change their ways, and get right with God. I always agree with these statements. The sexual behaviors that become addictive are sinful… Repentance, behavior change, and a deeper relationship with God are all goals of the healing journey for the sex addict. I usually respond to this question with another question: How long do you expect repentance and change to take (p. 24)?” Mark Laaser in Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction

“Here are three common reasons why people want to kick their porn habit: (1) to prove ourselves to God – so he will bless us or save us; (2) to prove ourselves to other people – so people like us or approve of us; (3) to prove ourselves to ourselves – so we feel good about ourselves… None of these reasons work, because they put ‘me’ at the center of my change project. And putting myself at the center is pretty much the definition of sin (p. 68)!… For some people, porn offers redemption, in terms of acceptance and affirmation, an alternative forgiveness. ‘I just want to feel that I’m OK. I turn to porn instead of God because the gospel doesn’t tell me that I’m OK. It tells me I’m a wicked sinner and Jesus died in my place. The gospel demands that I change. Porn says, ‘You’re OK just as you are (p. 57).’” Tim Chester in Closing the Window

“The fantasy partner is all caring, all attractive, perfectly nurturing, and completely sexual… The addict believes in the illusion of control because he or she controls the illusion (p. 30)… The fantasies of a sex addict are feeble attempts to gain what only God is capable of giving, which we will experience partially on earth and fully in Heaven (p. 31).” Harry Schaumburg in False Intimacy

“All that we call human  history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – [is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy (p. 53-54).” C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

“Confession can be a helpful part of repentance, but it can’t take its place. It’s possible to feel bad about something and even tell someone else but not genuinely turn from our sin (p. 142-143).” Joshua Harris in Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is)

“A repentant person is freed from defensiveness (p. 50)… Repentance needs to be understood as both an event and a lifestyle change. The event is like having a tooth pulled; the lifestyle change is like entering a total dental care program: it’s a lifetime commitment (p. 69).” Earl & Sandy Wilson, et al in Restoring the Fallen

80’s Fashion Comback, Old Theology, & Domestic Violence

A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novelties today are simply the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected. To believe in the popular religion of modern England is retrogression—like believing the earth is flat (p. 155).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

There are very few new ideas; mainly just refurbished forgotten ideas. Theology seems to have more in common with fashion that one would think. Just like the bad fashion of the 1980’s are back (with vengeance and vibrancy), so are many equally bad theological ideas that have been discredited in generations past.

As I write this I am amused to ponder what current high school students would think if they flipped through my high school year book. Would they think we were cool before our time? Would those embarrassing pictures be considered “vintage”? Would they completely miss the resemblance out of the blinded belief that their fashion is cutting edge?

The same could be said about many popular “new” ideas in church life. What would they think if they flipped through a history of theology book? Would they side with those declared heretics and claim the church has been wrong for 2000 years? Would they try to say that their rendition of the old false doctrine is nuanced better? Would they even see the resemblance?

This quickly becomes more than humor. My “new” ideas are subject to the same assessment. Do I let myself “off the hook” because I consider myself “in the fold”? Heretics are not bad people.

Most often they are passionate people who view real problems within the church or culture and speak from where they know they’re right without considering where they might be wrong.

I can relate to that sense of passion when I see something “wrong,” can’t you?

That moment when I’m seeing what most/most of those around me are “missing” is when I think I have something “new” to add to the conversation. If what I say helps, then I will quickly gain an audience and a growing confidence in my “new” thought.

So what is the danger? The danger is that my question and answer were framed by the current broken situation.  This means that many relevant questions have been overlooked. Those I am responding to as “wrong” responded the same way to a “wrong” they were passionate about. When this is the pattern the whole counsel of God does not get to frame problems as much as the current efforts of people. We quickly wind up like theological dogs chasing our tails.

This is not just true of theology. Another place I have seen it frequently is in abuse victims. Their abusive environments are “wrong.” They develop ways of thinking and patterns of life in reaction to the wrongness of their abusive environment. When this happens the wrongness of the situation that framed their thinking about “right” still implants many misguided thoughts about life, relationships, and emotions.

So what is the abuse victim to do? They are to be affirmed for being able to see what is really “wrong.” They are to be affirmed for taking actions to change. But then they should be encouraged to begin to ask “What is healthy?” outside the context of the abusive environment and with safe people.

What does this have to do with theology and heresy? We should be able to declare certain beliefs wrong. We should take actions to address bad doctrine and practice. But we should always be asking, “How does truth (the whole counsel of God’s Word) frame this discussion?” We should ask this question humbly with other honest seekers of truth (Christian community). This is the only way we’ll slow down our repetition of bad theological history.

Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations

Why?!?

Why do so many marriages that begin with sincere love and the best intentions end in divorce? Why do so many marriages that start with great promise and greater dreams end up just staying together “for the kids” and “living as roommates”? These are disturbingly relevant questions regardless of where we are in our marital journey (i.e., dating, engaged, newlywed, or celebrating an anniversary).

Whatever the answer is, Christians are not immune to “it.” The divorce rate among Christian couples is equivalent to the rest of the culture. If the statistics are true, then much of what we, as Christians, are doing to correct the problem is ineffective, misguided, or possibly even feeding the problem.

What?!?

What does it take to make marriage work? How does our marriage enrichment not degenerate into a series of random acts of kindness driven or distracted by the tyranny of the urgent? How do we ensure that our individual acts of marital enrichment are working together to build a momentum and gather energy from one another?

These are important questions to ask, even if you are not currently discouraged or overwhelmed by the number of seemingly unrelated things that need to be done to improve your marriage. Marital enrichment that feels random is hard to maintain, easily forgotten, and tends to get bumped down the priority chain. This is why we must not allow marital enrichment to remain random.

Seminar:

Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations
Topics

: Challenges, Covenant, & Martial Job Descriptions
Dates: June 23 and 30, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 6:00 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703
Cost: Free

This seminar is one piece of a five part series of seminars (foundations, communication, finances, decision making, and intimacy) designed to facilitate mentoring relationships for married or engaged couples (one-on-one or in a group setting). Our goal in these seminars is to cover the key subjects that often hinder, but could greatly enhance, a couple’s ability to experience all that God intended marriage to be.

We believe that change that lasts happens in relationship. Private change tends to be short-lived change. Living things exposed to light grow. Living things kept in the dark wither. This is why we designed this series to encourage you to give your marriage the light of Christian community by studying these materials with others.

These materials are built upon a central premise – God gave us marriage so that we would know the gospel more clearly and more personally. It is the gospel that gives us joy. Marriage is meant to be a living picture of the gospel-relationship between God and His bride, the church. For this reason, we have two goals for you as you go through this study:

  1. That you would get know and enjoy your spouse in exciting, new, and profoundly deeper ways, so that…
  2. … you would get to know and enjoy God in exciting, new, and profoundly deeper ways.

This series of seminars is arranged around five topics that represent the most common challenges that face a marriage. While the challenges of each area are acknowledged, the tone of these seminars is optimistic. We believe that those things that cause the greatest pain when done wrongly bring the fullest joy when done according to God’s design.

Overcoming Sexual Sin (Video 3 of 9)

This is the third video in a nine part series entitled “False Love: Overcoming Sexual Sin from Pornography to Adultery.” False Love has a complementing seminar entitled “True Betrayal: Overcoming the Betrayal of Your Spouse’s Sexual Sin.” For more information on either seminar, please follow the links provided.

False Love: Step 3 from Equip on Vimeo.

The follow quotes are part of the teaching notes being referenced.

STEP 3
UNDERSTAND the origin, motive, and history of my sin.

“Adultery is an equal opportunity sin. It transcends social standing, intelligence, age, race, religion, and spiritual maturity (p. 101).” Gary & Mona Shriver in Unfaithful

“Fantasy can produce chemicals called chatecholamines in the pleasure centers of the brain that positively alter mood and even have a narcotic-like effect. The addict then uses these effects to escape unpleasant emotions, to change negative feelings to positive feelings, and even to reduce stress (p. 29-30).” Mark Laaser in Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction

“Each of us is unique in how we’re tempted to lust (p. 62)…It helps me to remember that my eyes are actively obeying my heart. They don’t have a mind of their own (p. 74).” Joshua Harris in Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is)

“It is not difficult to see how porn feeds off these cultural expectations. It creates a fantasy that perfectly matches each of these fears. If you fear failure, then porn promises success—you always get the woman. If you fear rejection, then porn promises approval—a woman worships you. If you fear powerlessness, then porn promises potency—women are under your power (p. 50).” Tim Chester in Closing the Window

“We see something (a person or fantasy) we think will change our situation. Our deceitful heart buys into a false and empty promise: the promise of relief, of acceptance, of fulfillment. Once the deceived heart believes the promise it conceives a sin that leads to death (p. 64).” Harry Schaumburg in False Intimacy

“Those who have experienced the unquenchable flames of burning lust can understand why the fathers of the early church regarded the worst aspect of hell to be that a person is left to his own lusts with no possibility of satisfying them (p. 78).” Steve Gallagher in At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry

“Adultery is often not centered on sex. Sex becomes part of it, but it may have begun as a supportive friendship or an office flirtation that guaranteed ego strokes. For some, it is the thrill of the illicit and a strange sense of adventure. Often after the chase is over, the excitement and attraction are gone. Sexual curiosity and frustration initiate some extramarital liaisons, but sex is just one of many reasons affairs occur (p. 347).” Doug Rosenau in A Celebration of Sex

Journaling Tool from Step 3:  Sexual Sin Journal

Overcoming Sexual Sin (Video 2 of 9)

This is the second video in a nine part series entitled “False Love: Overcoming Sexual Sin from Pornography to Adultery.” False Love has a complementing seminar entitled “True Betrayal: Overcoming the Betrayal of Your Spouse’s Sexual Sin.” For more information on either seminar, please follow the links provided.

False Love: Step 2 from Equip on Vimeo.

The follow quotes are part of the teaching notes being referenced.

STEP 2
ACKNOWLEDGE the breadth and impact of my sin.

“Pornography has unique power to damage a marriage because it is ultimately about self, not union. Indulging in pornography is a form of psychological isolation, a withdrawal into a tiny world of self-gratification. It is a kind of sexual expression that makes your appetites much larger even as your world gets much smaller (p. 26).” Tim Challies in Sexual Detox

“A sex addict, however, uses fantasy to move toward the unreal world of false intimacy rather than toward the real world of accomplishment and intimate, but sometimes painful, relationships… All sexual involvement begins in the mind… Sexual fantasy is a worship of self (p. 38).” Harry Schaumburg in False Intimacy

“But what you’re doing is stealing. The impure thought life is the life of a thief. You’re stealing images that aren’t yours. When you had premarital sex, you touched someone who didn’t belong to you… It’s just like walking down Main Street behind someone who drops a one-hundred-dollar bill out of his pocket, and you pick it up. That money isn’t yours—even if he didn’t know he lost it (p. 72).” Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker in Everyman’s Battle

“How can a real woman – with pores and her own breasts and even sexual needs of her own… possibly compete with a cyber-vision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who comes, so to speak, utterly submissive and tailored to the consumer’s least specification?… Today, real naked women are just bad porn.” Naomi Wolf in “The Porn Myth” in New York Magazine (October 20, 2003)

“I recommend a two-stage confession: An initial, honest disclosure of the facts, followed by a reflective, thorough, God-centered confession. This approach recognizes the importance of an immediate acknowledgement to your spouse and pastor or counselor. It also recognizes that a more thorough and careful repentance is needed (p. 8)… Come clean completely. She may or may not forgive you. But if she later discovers you have held back or minimized important facts, the odds of her forgiving and trusting you severely diminish. If the adultery itself does not end the marriage, your half-truths may kill it (p. 9).” Robert Jones in After Adultery

C.S. Lewis on Theology as Experience and Map

A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“If a man once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real… The map is admittedly only colored paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based upon what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map (p. 154).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Lewis is speaking to the person who looks down on theology because they find it to be less real than their personal relationship with God. What I appreciate about his approach is that he affirms what is right in the discomfort without embracing the error.

His use of metaphor makes this possible. If he had merely said, “You are right in [blank], but wrong in [blank],” he would likely lose his audience. The feel of the conversation would be, “Your wrong is more wrong than your right is right.” Even if Lewis and his friend could agree on what was right and wrong, they would likely not walk away feeling chummy.

However, with the use of story Lewis is able to capture the essence of what his friend is fearful of losing in a way that a straightforward statement never could. They can “feel” a walk on the beach in a way that makes a map seem highly impersonal – “Yes! That’s what I’m talking about. You get me! You care enough to listen and represent me fairly. You’re a friend.”

With that trust Lewis flips the metaphor in a friendly fashion; never unsaying what he’s already established. The majesty of a walk on the beach is never minimized, but it is used to elevate the essence of the map. A map is the coalescence of many experiences both on the beach and at sea.

A map makes few people fall in love with the ocean, but it keeps many people from getting lost at sea. Yet the more you fall in love with the ocean the more likely you are to get lost unless you have a map. But too much time with the map away from the sea will give you a very tame view of the ocean void of the appropriate awe and reverence for its beauty and power.

Lewis’ metaphor does what no debate could accomplish. It brings two people with seemingly “opposing” views to see how much they need one another. This is not possible with all differences, but is much more possible than we often believe when conversations start as a debate.

In effect, Lewis is modeling what he is teaching. He is creating an experience while he is drawing a map. The metaphor takes you somewhere that you can “feel” the contrast. You sense wanting one (awe of the ocean) and needing the other (a map to navigate). You realize it is senseless to settle for one or the other.

In the midst of this experiential metaphor Lewis is drawing a map of the current disagreement. You can see “where” you are and where you “opponent” is. Points are made, but they are not dry points like reading a map far from the ocean mist. You learn to find yourself (map effect) but do so with the smell of salty breeze (ocean effect).

If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Theology and Counseling” post which address other facets of this subject.

Rest Reveals Our Identity

This post is meant to offer guidance to common “What now?” questions that could emerge from Pastor J.D.’s sermon on Hebrews 4 preached at The Summit Church Saturday/Sunday May 19-20, 2012.

What is one of the least emphasized descriptions of Hell? I think it comes from Hebrews 4 when it twice quotes Psalm 95:11, “They shall not enter my rest.” I’m not sure that is how I have thought of eternal torment, but I am also not sure I can think of anything more painful.

Imagine always striving but never arriving. Put yourself in the position of always being measured, but never accepted. Picture aiming at a perpetually moving target as if your life depended upon it. I don’t think it is that hard for most of us to let our imaginations go there, because this is how most of us live.

God offers a solution for this – Sabbath (Heb. 4:9-10). But too often we think of Sabbath as a legalistic obligation rather than a gracious gift. We want to know what we can’t do instead of resting in what Christ has already done to purchase our rest.

In order to understand the significance of Sabbath I think we need to look at the fourth of the Ten Commandments where God said, “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath (Deut. 5: 12 and 15).”

God was making a direct connection between being delivered from slavery and keeping the Sabbath. Next to freedom, what does a slave want most? Rest. A slave is driven by his/her master. A slave is a commodity who is owned and his/her worth is measured by productivity. A slave is expendable. These realities mean a slave is beaten for or threatened against resting.

God is saying that His deliverance from slavery (whether that be from Egypt, sin at salvation, or idolatry in our sanctification) changes our identity from slave to son. What is one of the chief privileges of a son? Rest. A son is loved by his father. A son is an image bearer who carries the family name. A son is irreplaceable. These facets of identity allow a son to rest.

This rest is more than a vacation or a day off. When the son of a good father works he is not looking over his shoulder to see if his work is “good enough.” The son of a good father works to perpetuate the good name he has been given. The son of a good father is not defined by his work. The son of a good father finds his security in the love he receives on his best and worst days.

This is why our hope is not in rest, but in the God who purchased our rest at the cost of His Son. We are not refreshed by a day of restricted labor. We are enlivened by the love of a God who commands rest so that we do not forget what He has done for us. Our rest is a celebration of Christ’s work.

How does this change the way we approach Sabbath?

We recognize Sabbath as a gift not a restriction.

We engage Sabbath as a celebration of the gospel.

We allow Sabbath (sonship) to invade even our “work days.”

We recognize fear and insecurity as more anti-Sabbath than activity.

We view our stillness as an act of faith in God’s being a loving, good Father.

We recognize our driven-ness is mistaking Hell for Heaven.

Overcoming Sexual Sin (Video 1 of 9)

This is the first video in a nine part series entitled “False Love: Overcoming Sexual Sin from Pornography to Adultery.” False Love has a complementing seminar entitled “True Betrayal: Overcoming the Betrayal of Your Spouse’s Sexual Sin.” For more information on either seminar, please follow the links provided.

False Love: Step 1 from Equip on Vimeo.

The follow quotes are part of the teaching notes being referenced.

STEP 1
ADMIT I have a struggle I cannot overcome without God.

“The message of this book is not that I’m against lust, but that I’m for God’s plan for sexual desire. Yes, lust is bad. But it’s bad because what it perverts is so good (p. 11).” Joshua Harris in Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is)

“No one deserves sin. Sin is not something to be deserved or desired, but is something to avoid at all cost (p. 50)… The more a person becomes involved in sin, the less he sees it. Sin is a hideous disease that destroys a person’s ability to comprehend its existence (p. 60).” Steve Gallagher in At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry

“In our culture sex is everything and sex is nothing (p. 120)… One of the things that porn does is to make us think marriage is for sex. But it’s the other way round: sex is for marriage (p. 125)… So what is sex for? It is, first and foremost, an act of unification, uniting two people into one flesh (p. 122)… That’s why porn—along with all sex outside of marriage—is a sham, a fiction, a lie. You can no more ‘try out’ sex than you can ‘try out’ birth. The very act produces a new reality that cannot be undone (p. 123).” Tim Chester in Closing the Window

“These romantic fantasies further increased the distance between her and Jimmy because they were a constant reminder of his failure as a husband. She noticed that the more involved she became in the novels and soaps, the more resentful she felt towards him (p. 112).” Kathy Gallagher in When His Secret Sin Breaks Your Heart

“When you start confiding in your friend things you’re reluctant or even resistant to share with your spouse, that’s an indicator the emotional intimacy is greater in the friendship than in the marriage. When something happens and you think about sharing with your friend before you think about sharing with your spouse, that’s another indicator you’ve invited someone to stand between you and your spouse. One of the best indicators of this increasing intimacy is sharing with your friend about the problems you’re having in your marriage (p. 235-236).” Gary & Mona Shriver in Unfaithful

“The determining factor in what makes the stimulus pornographic is how a sex addict turns otherwise nonsexual material into sexual fantasy. If you are an addict, this means you must determine what is pornographic for you and not worry about what is pornographic for someone else (p. 31).” Mark Laaser in Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction

 Blog post “How to End an Extra-Marital Relationship” (referenced as Appendix B from the False Love seminar)

Sexual Sin Evaluation: Sexual Sin Assessment