Articles

Thoughts on addiction to pornography

by G. Corey Carlisle, MDiv, LMFT, CST

I have a friend who has a little habit. He begins every morning indulging in its pleasures before heading to work. He jokes he cannot start his day without it. Frequently, he goes to specialty shops to spice things up and experience a little variety. When he is feeling stressed he does it more often.

If my friend’s habit was pornography many would quickly consider him a porn addict, but my friend’s habit is his morning cup of coffee. Does that change things? Is my friend still an addict? The best answer is likely yes and probably no. 

Being creatures of habit there is a sense in which we all engage in addictive behaviors. As psychiatrist and spiritual counselor Gerald May defines it, an addiction is “any compulsive, habitual behavior that limits the freedom of human desire. It is caused by the attachment, or nailing, of desire to specific objects” (from Addiction and Grace). Much of the Christian life is a struggle to find freedom from various habits (idols), our repeated attempts to make life work apart from God.

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Sexual Stewardship

by G. Corey Carlisle, MDiv, LMFT, CST

You may remember the story Jesus told of the man who entrusted his three servants with various amounts of money (talents), and urged them to manage his affairs well while he was gone. The first two servants were rewarded for trusting their masters heart, taking a risk, and doubling their investment. The third servant, however, did not trust his masters heart. Feeling afraid, he played it safe and hid what was given to him. The master responded by throwing the “useless servant into utter darkness” (Matthew 25:14-30). 

This passage reminds us we must be faithful stewards of what God has entrusted to our care. Certainly this includes our money, possessions, and time, but it also includes our sexuality. Our sexuality is a gift given to us by God to manage; it is not our own. And more importantly, the passage shows us how will handle our gifts reveals what we truly think about God. Will we steward our sexuality boldly and freely as sons and daughters, or in fear and rebellion as slaves (Galatians 4:7)?

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Eros Toward the World

by G. Corey Carlisle, MDiv, LMFT, CST

It is not difficult to see the many divisions that exist in the world and the pain caused by such discord. For example, many recent events have reminded us that race relations are not yet healed in our nation. As Christians, we are aware that we can find oneness and unity in Christ (Galatians 3:26-28). However, it seems we often struggle to know what this looks like in actual practice. Thankfully, God has given us a very concrete picture of unity to help us discover and move toward oneness.

What does it look like for two to be reconciled, joined together, and unified into one? God has given us marriage in general and the act of sexual intercourse in particular to provide the illustration. As the Apostle Paul highlights, these are pictures pointing to a deeper reality, symbols revealing a much larger story (Ephesians 5:31-32). There is much more going on than simply having a happy marriage and great sex. God is trying to show us what unity looks like. This is done in part through the gift of Eros.

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Simplicity and Sex

by G. Corey Carlisle, MDiv, LMFT, CST

There’s just not enough time in the day. By the time we try to complete everything we need to do, we crawl into bed exhausted, with nothing but sleep on our minds. We wake up the next morning to start the daily grind all over again.  We’re so busy, there’s just not enough time in the day for sex.

Busyness has a way of creeping up on us, and we often have to resist the seductive pull into doing just one more thing. Is this merely a busy season of life, or have we let busyness become our way of life? Are we freely sacrificing our time as a gift for others? Or, has busyness become our means to feel needed and be seen as important by those around us? What are the hidden motivations of our busyness? If we are not careful, our tendency to over-schedule can rob us of the very life and joy we try so hard to secure. And for many couples, busyness deprives them of a fulfilling sex life.

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The Good News About Marriage

Would your view of marriage change if you knew the following were true?

  • The actual divorce rate has never gotten close to 50 percent.
  • Those who attend church regularly have a significantly lower divorce rate than those who don’t.
  • Most marriages are happy.
  • Simple changes make a big difference in most marriage problems.
  • Most remarriages succeed.

Based on the newest research in the field, it appears each of these statements is true.

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