Earlier this year, I read William Struthers’ book Wired For Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain. It was an amazing book and I learned much from it (and I encourage anyone to read it, male or female).
One justified criticism, however, that I have heard about this book is that it doesn’t quite speak to the questions that many would naturally bring to such a book. It’s separated into two parts: the first is theory, the second is application and implications.
This is all well and fine, except the first part is extremely clinical and tries really hard to be a casual observer to the effects of pornography. This results in a whole lot of the minutiae of various hormones and chemicals in the brain and what happens to them and why. But, there’s no context as to why (or whether) any of these effects are necessarily bad or harmful. It merely describes various chemicals and brain structures and how pornography is received and processed, but in his attempt at neutrality and avoiding value-judgments, he ends up creating at atmosphere in which the reader continually thinks “okay, so what?”.
I know it’s a little long for a quote, but I promise, it’s very worth your time.
Within Christianity, the masculine image of God is often defined in these terms of control, power and dominion. Much of the Christian faith, though, requires that men recognize their limitations and depend on God. We accept salvation through his son and sanctification by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a faith where the last shall be first (Mk 10:31), marked by a life of service to others….
Consider the definition offered by John Piper: “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships” ([Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood] Piper and Grudem, 2006, p. 35). It is a definition that emphasizes leading, providing for and protecting women. But it offers no insight on how men relate to one another. Depending on your reading of this definition, it either smacks of male chauvinism or places greater value on women’s needs. No doubt well intentioned, it offers little guidance for men who are already confused, wounded and lost about their masculinity….
I try not to bash pastors that I know have good intentions. Those pastors that have demonstrated a desire to be biblically sound and pastorally sensitive, usually get the benefit of the doubt from me, even when I don’t think they are at the moment being biblically sound and pastorally sensitive. I also know that well-known pastors probably get far more useless and inane criticism from young twenty-somethings that think they know everything (myself included, far more often than I’d like to admit). But this went a bit too far. Tonight, John Piper put up the following tweet: