The Enticements of Evil

Recently I have been thinking much on the allurement of evil and how that is contrasted with the power and goodness of God. Sin ultimately destroys. God always gives life. Why then in so many parts of my life do I fall back into sinful behavior, especially since I have known the peace and love of God? Evil is powerful and the enticements of the devil are many. The world today is particularly filled with temptations to sin and destructive behavior. For instance, the allurement of porn. Never in the history of the world has there been such access to so many explicit images as there is today. When we think of how this a phenomena that has only developed within the last fifty years and has intensified to a previously unimaginable level as we have today, especially through the explosion of the internet, we can see in very concrete ways how we are surrounded by a pervasive evil. Fortunately though I believe God has given us greater graces today to help us overcome this pestilence.

My own life has been a struggle in these different areas. Yet, all I can say after my experiences, is that the goodness of God is far greater, far more satisfying, far more joy giving, than the enticements of evil. I pray daily that I may not stray from the straight and narrow and that I may follow the light of God to true peace and happiness and everlasting life.

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The Love of God

The love of God is more powerful than anything. This what makes faith so powerful. Trying to live a life close to God is not simply some abstract, intellectual thing. Rather, I have felt the Spirit of God within me a certain times in my life. And there is nothing in this world, neither money, nor sex, nor knowledge, that can compare to that. It is hard to describe, but once experienced it is something you never forget. Even the darkest moments of our lives, when we feel so distant from God, we never forget what it was like to have once sensed His presence close to our hearts. Nothing can compare.

The longer I live, the more I realize that in the end all that matters is God’s love.

It is Good to Hate Sin

It is good to hate sin. Sin destroys. When I have lived my life in serious sin, especially for any long period of time, my life has decayed. After a few weeks, a few months, a few years, I am no longer the same person that I was before. I am always worse. My life is always worse off. Recently I have felt the pull of serious sin and although I did not fall all the way, I fell a little bit. I succumbed to the enticements and allurements of images, of flesh, of sensual pleasures. Yesterday was a hard day because of that. I felt the sting and burden and weight of sin upon me. Sleeplessness and despair hounded me. God seemed distant, even though I know he is there. Today is better, although I still drawn to sensual desire in a deep way. There is nothing wrong with desire; what is wrong is being sucked into disordered desires and wanting to pursue those as much as possible.

What I desire the most is to have Christ in my life. A life without Christ is a dark and empty life for me. Some days it is difficult though. The confusion between eroticism and Christianity swirls about inside of me. I live in a place where I am surrounded by attractive, even beautiful, women. Each one I want to look at, fantasize about, even more. There are many opportunities for me to sleep with different women. The excitement of a new sexual experience always seems to beckon me. Yet I know what that would unleash inside of myself both spiritually and emotionally. Then there are the added and real fears of STDs. So I chose restraint and abstinence and faith itself. Yet the struggles goes on. Some days are easier than others. But I must continue to trust in God and Christ.

The Power of God

I know from all my experience that a life lived in Christ, devoted to God, and free from sin, as much as we are able to be free from sin, is the best life lived. How much joy and pleasure are derived from prayer! It is joy that is lasting; there is a kind of goodness to it, a strength and reward that only comes from God. My life feels complete, happy, secure when it is conducted in prayer and focused on God; when I think of others and how I might serve and love them better and not so much myself anymore; when I think that, even though I am not sure of where my life may be heading at certain times, if I am faithful to God, He will be faithful to me. God has a great plan for all of us if only we will open our hearts to Him so as to receive that plan fully. We are his workers, we are called to bring others to Him, just as others brought us to Him.

When I live in sin, especially addicted to porn and sex, none of these things seem true. Rather, I am overcome by despair, darkness and depression; I feel the coldness of distance, of that great distance that is created when we walk away from God through our own actions. I read somewhere that hell is nothing more than being eternally separated from God and His love. But yet while we live on this earth God is always with us: He is always there trying to call us back from a sinful life. Having lived my life in both worlds, the world of sin and the world of faith, I can say unconditionally that the world of faith is better beyond description. There is no comparison. And although I worry about my weaknesses, I know if I trust in God I can walk this journey faithfully, and perhaps without ever falling again.

Sexual Restraint; Women and Porn

It has been eons since I wrote anything of substance on here. One reason is that I have been busy with other things for the past few months. There is only so much time to do things. Another  reason is that I have been trying to figure out exactly what it is I would like this blog to be about? There seem to be so many blogs out there today and I am not sure if another one is going to make much of a difference. I am not much into the day by day accounts of people’s lives, especially when I do not know them, so I never wanted this blog to be about all that. Also, I have been trying to avoid the hypocrisy issue. I do not want to be writing about sexual restraint, especially within the bounds of Christianity,  when I myself have not been practicing it. Now I have not been doing anything terrible except for a lot of lust and spending/wasting a bit too much time entertaining that lust. And should I be serious or more sarcastic here? I have a deeply sarcastic side but I do not want to seem like I am contradicting some of the things I am writing here. I would like to attract readers who are interested in these topics but can still laugh about them at the same time.

Yet I read many things out there by people who have the same questions I do, people, both men and woman, who are deeply sexual but also deeply spiritual and are always attempting to find a balance between the two. For me, right now, a chaste life is the best option. I am just not having sex with anyone right now and am not sure when I will again, if ever. After a two decades of debauched living, sleeping with numerous women, saturating my mind with porn and erotic things, I am tired of it all right now. I am still very sexual, but I am not acting out on it. I find the spiritual life is much more fulfilling and rewarding. Of course I know I am in a distinct minority on this and this has always been the case throughout history. But, as I have written in earlier posts, for me deeper happiness is the result. I would like to be an advocate for these types of issues: sexual restraint within the contexts of a spiritual life, but a restraint which does not completely deny our sexual and erotic selves, but rather embraces the good and healthy aspects of that important part of our beings.

To change topics slightly…recently I have been reading a lot about how women are becoming more and more consumers of porn. Many are coming out and talking openly about their addiction to porn. This is new phenomena for sure, driven by the internet. Not that women in the past were not influenced by porn, they were, but the numbers now are much greater. But I wonder why this is? As a border line recovering porn addict myself, this development intrigues me. When men look at porn it is because we cannot get laid and are using porn as a substitute for real sex. Of course this only leads to frustration and a sense of inadequacy on our parts. But for women, most of whom could easily find a sex partner rather quickly if they wanted, what is the allure? From what I gather it seems that the majority of women who enjoy porn do so because they fantasize about being the completely desired women they see in the videos or pictures. Men fantasize about having sex with the women they see in porn; women fantasize about being the women so viscerally desired. In addition, some women have reported that they enjoy and are aroused by the images of other women; and some women say they enjoy seeing the men. It is hard to break down the numbers and this is not meant to be a scientific survey, but this is what I glean from reading a few things recently on women and porn. Also, a huge thing now is for women to send naked pictures of themselves to others, whether private or not. This would make sense, since it would tap into a the female desire to be noticed and desired. The supposed anonymity of the internet has made this all possible. A woman can now be her own porn star in a private and anonymous way. Of course the internet has a way of destroying people’s anonymity after a while. What is clear is that in so many areas of our modern, technologically driven lives, the internet is having a profound influence. In our atomized, isolated and highly individualistic society, it can be drug as dangerous as cocain was to the Chinese in the nineteenth century or alcohol was and still is to the Native Americans.  There are many good things out there too on the internet but balancing the good and the bad can be a dangerous game.

What I sense in so many of the disorders of our internet age is this: there are many, many lonely people out there who are using this medium as a way of connecting with other people. In the end it is a most imperfect way of connecting. We are and will always be the flesh and blood creatures God designed us as and will always need the real contact and communication of real people in real time and space.

Easter Season

Not much to write on at the moment. Life has been busy since Easter Sunday. There is a special joy to that day which is hard to describe, so I won’t even try…

Life continues to present its struggle though, which is all the more reason to trust in God and the message of Easter. Hopefully I can write on these things soon.

Easter Sunday

Jesus meets Mary Magdalene outside the tomb early on Easter morning

Jesus meets Mary Magdalene outside the tomb early on Easter morning.

The most joyous day of the year for all Christians as we recall the Resurrection and all the infinite hope given to us thereby.

Despite living in a post-Christan world, we can see from the crowds at the various Easter services around the entire world, like this one at St. Peter's in Rome, that Christ still is among us, as he promised.

Despite living in a post-Christian era, we can see from the crowds at the various Easter services around the world, like this one at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, that Christ still is among us, as he promised.

Praise be to God for his infinite mercy!

Palm Sunday

Jesus enters Jerusalem to undergo his Passion.

Jesus enters Jerusalem to undergo his Passion.

I don’t have much time to write today, just enough to say every Palm Sunday Mass I have ever attended has always been rich in connotation and spiritual significance. It is only one of two days throughout the year (the other being Good Friday) that we hear the Gospel readings of the Crucifixion. Lent is now over and Holy Week begins. This Lent has been mostly good, with a few ups and downs and the usual struggles. Still, I must continue on the journey.

The True Darkness Behind Porn

Last night I was reading a little bit about Anais Nin. Today she is someone who would fit in well with what Roissy refers to as the “urban slut machine”. At one time in my life such a woman would have fascinated me for a sexual encounter: attractive, promiscuous, seemingly open to just about anything. She apparently even had incestuous sex with her own father. She had many lovers, including Henry Miller. Together they penned some pornography. She is one of the first female writers of erotica. So in many respects she was a precursor to the sexual revolution that was to happen a few decades after her own sexual prime.

I can imagine how every guy who came into contact with her, and knew about her sexual openness, would have wanted to bed her. If nothing more than for the conquest. I wonder what kind of person she was though. How tortured? What was her level of happiness? What were those moments like after someone had sex with her? Was she distant, bitchy, angry, or overly needy, like some many of the women I have slept with. Often there is such unhappiness lurking beneath the surface of sexual freedom. The fact that she was abused and abandoned by her father seems irrelevant to those who want to delight in her sexual exploits. When reading about her last night I could not help but wonder how many tears she shed as child after her father left her. There must have been tremendous pain and sadness throughout her entire life.

I have also been doing a lot of reading on the true nature of the porn industry lately. Like the proverbial sausage making plant, you do not want to really know what goes into the product you are viewing. It is not pretty. It is also mostly a gigantic lie. In many ways it is an industry that feeds off of the troubled women who make the pictures and movies and the addicted men who watch them. Reading some of the details of how these movies are actually made is a great deterrent to ever watching them again. When Miller wrote his Tropic of Cancer porn was very much an underground phenomenon. The book at the time caused quite a stir. Today it seems hopelessly innocent compared to what is out there. Yet there is a connection, a growth, between what he wrote back then and what is out there today. The common denominator in all of it are the lives of the troubled people who either produce or participate in this industry, in whatever form it may take.

As a man I know all too well the allure of porn. It once seemed like a harmless, exciting form of entertainment. But learning more about what goes on in the porn industry makes it easier for me to stay away from it. The abused, addicted, broken women and the sad consumers are only the beginning. There is too much darkness in the whole thing for me.