Introduction

07/30/2008

I’m very sorry that this particular topic brings us together. I know that most of you don’t want to be reading this right now, and on a number of levels, I don’t want to be writing it. I don’t want to be associated with this topic. Most people don’t. Nor would I want to be considered an expert on this topic. If you want to speak with an expert, talk to one of the hundreds of thousands of men and boys (and some women and girls) who are added each week to the numbers of the addicted. I’m just a person who had some comparatively minimal exposure to what I’m about to write about, who also happens to have a somewhat analytical way of looking at things, and wants to help.

 

I’m also not recently conversant on this topic. I wanted to write this book ‘clean’ so to speak; so at the point when the manuscript began to take shape, it had been more than I year since I spent any amount of time (which was never extensive to begin with) looking at the websites concerned, with the recent exception of a couple of very short (i.e. less than a minute) return trips eighteen months later to verify that some internet situations still existed. The internet is always changing, but there are principles here that I think will apply for generations. I wanted to write this with the distance and detachment that can only come with time.

 

From this vantage point, it’s probable that the majority of the copies sold of this book will be through Christian retail channels, and one thing you won’t find here is extended Biblical teaching on the subject. I wanted to write something that you could read and then place into the hands of someone you know who is also dealing with this issue, but hasn’t (or hasn’t yet) come to place of trust with regard to what the Bible says.

 

Of course, it’s hard for me to escape the worldview that comes with being a Christ-follower; that will inevitably surface. And if I lapse and quote something from Proverbs, you can feel free to skip that part. But I hope you won’t.

 

For those who are “in the fold,” as we say, if you want some sound Biblical teaching on this subject, there are some good books now and others that will come after this is published. If you want to do a keyword search on this issue, I would suggest that for believers, the following are the issues at stake:

 

(a) lust (that was a no-brainer)

(b) self-control

(c) the stewardship of our time

 

Another thing you won’t find here is a how-to guide on finding things online. I’m already concerned that there’s one major thesis in this book that could put ideas into someone’s head, and I’m going out of my way not to help anyone source anything. So if the voyeur in you is hoping for some juicy anecdotal stories, or you’ve got a pen and paper handy to write down some web addresses, this is going to be a complete disappointment.

 

This also isn’t autobiographical, though early on I’ll let you in on how I went from owning a computer for twelve years without ever seeing anything remotely erotic online, to spending about six weeks seeing just about everything. By the way, I don’t think anybody ‘stumbles’ onto this stuff online, but I’ll be the first to admit that I think ‘stumbles’ is the perfect word.

 

I’ve also been told that; “This is the book your pastor wants to write but can’t.” I’m hoping that writing from a vocational position of theological and ministerial neutrality affords me the opportunity to be more direct and personal about some aspects of this issue.

 

What I want to do here is share the dynamics of this one facet of computer addiction – and there are dozens of those, starting with the Solitaire game that came preloaded when you bought the computer – with the people I think are least likely to have direct contact with it. Simply put, a lot of pornography is produced by men and targeted at men, and I suspect there are a lot of wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughter and sisters who simply don’t know what it is that has impacted their family. Actually, everything about sex, including the language used to describe it, is somewhat biased towards the male perspective. No wonder some women start to feel lost in these discussions.

 

I’m not a pastor, not a counselor, not a psychologist and not a computer expert. I’m just a guy who spent a few weeks camping out at the edge of the information highway, who was rather shocked (and no doubt affected) by what I saw driving by.

 

If you’re a woman reading this, I hope it helps to make some sense out of this form of internet addiction. If you’re a man reading this, I hope it helps you to see the bigger picture. This book has one purpose: To save lives.


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