Tuesday, May 20, 2014
by Cap Stewart
Several years ago, Kate Beckinsale was conned into signing a movie contract that required nudity—something she didn’t want to do. With her acting career in jeopardy, she found herself browbeaten by the director. “I was really disturbed and I was sobbing and begging,” she said. At long last, she gave in to intimidation and performed the nude scene, which made her feel “violated and horrible.” Afterwards, she secretly urinated in the director’s thermos in revenge.
In more recent history, one actress from the HBO show Game of Thrones mustered up the courage to refuse doing any more nude scenes. She is reported as saying that she wants to be known for her acting, not for her body parts. (It’s a sorry state of affairs that requires such a statement to be made in the first place.) When the show started, she didn’t have nearly enough clout to buck the system. A season of the show’s overwhelming popularity may have been what put her in a better position to bargain with the producers.Would you believe me if I told you that stories like these are numerous? Sadly, it’s true. The amount of pressure and intimidation Hollywood places on actors—especially women—to undress for the camera is commonplace. It’s well known in the entertainment industry that if you want to make it as an actor, you won’t be taken seriously if you have qualms about taking your clothes off.What finally opened my eyes to this culture of sexual abuse was Wayne A. Wilson’s book Worldly Amusements. In one chapter, he gives seven examples from media interviews of female actors who express reservations about getting naked, or at least make some reference to the pressure placed upon women to undress for the camera.Wilson himself became aware of the issue after watching a movie in which the director had his own daughter perform sex acts on screen. The fact that a director would sacrifice his child’s dignity for the sake of a movie changed Wilson’s perspective. He now implements what he calls the “law of love” in his movie watching habits: he refuses to support films that sexually objectify or degrade actors. He now asks himself, “Would I approve if my sister [or wife or daughter] were asked to behave or expose herself in any way that undermined her purity?” (p. 112).

That is a question we would do well to ask ourselves. It’s a question that comes to the mind of Melissa Ortega, an acquaintance of mine with ties to the entertainment industry. She recently shared her experiences in a Facebook discussion:

I know how many of the women in these scenes (and probably men too, you just don’t hear from them) have talked about throwing up in the bathroom between scenes, crying, stressing out constantly, etc. So basically, I’m paying for that person to do that for me?    . . . . There are perhaps no handcuffs involved with these performers, but social constraints/expectations/demands/culture can be equally, if not more, powerful. And that’s the problem. I’ve lived in Hollywood. I’ve worked with prostitutes one on one. The line between the two worlds is thin. I know no other culture more willing to use people and throw them away.

The movers and shakers in Hollywood have acquired what seems to be an almost limitless amount of power to enforce the sexualization of actors. To cite another example: director Neil Marshall once commented on how he was pressured by an HBO executive to put more sex and nudity in an episode of Game of Thrones:

It was pretty surreal. I’d not done anything like that in my films before. But the weirdest part was when you have one of the exec producers leaning over your shoulder, going, “You can go full frontal, you know. This is television, you can do whatever you want! And do it! I urge you to do it.” So I was like, “Okay, well, if you—you’re the boss.”

A little later, he added:

This particular exec took me to one side and said, “Look, I represent the pervert side of the audience, okay? Everybody else is the serious drama side—I represent the perv side of the audience, and I’m saying I want full frontal nudity in this scene. So you go ahead and do it.”

Notice the implicit acknowledgement that the nudity had nothing to do with art—that it was designed solely for the satisfaction of a perverted audience base. The producer pushed his weight around, and the director (and everyone else) acquiesced. All of this to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

What gives entertainment executives the authority to force others into such compromising situations? What gives a producer the power to manipulate a director into catering to perverse fantasies? What gives a director the right to deceive an actress into agreeing to do more than she meant to? If your computer screen was a mirror, you would be looking at the answer.

You see, when average folks like you and me support films and TV shows like these, we are perpetuating the sexualized culture we say we deplore. My guess is that, because it’s often hard to see how “A” eventually leads to “X,” we think little of doing “A,” even if we abhor “X.” We may complain about the objectification of women (and men) in our culture. We may complain about how movies are ruined by sex scenes and gratuitous nudity. But if we then turn around and financially support that culture, something is askew.

As I’ve pointed out before, it doesn’t matter if you avert your eyes during sex scenes. At the end of the day, Hollywood counts ticket sales. Both prudes and perverts give equal support for a film when they buy a ticket (or a DVD). The truth is, if people stopped financially supporting the abuse of actors, the industry would change. But producers follow the money, and there’s money to be made through the objectification of entertainers.

Tinseltown is harming the consciences of actors, wreaking emotional and spiritual havoc on them—all so we can enjoy a couple hours of amusement. Hollywood has created its own (incredibly profitable) version of sex slavery, degrading actors as human beings.

And we’re funding the process with our own wallets.

In honor of Memorial Day, we have decided to cancel the Monday night meeting of Castimonia at The Fellowship location only.  The meeting will resume the following Monday night at its regular time and location.

For an alternate meeting, please visit the West Houston location at Lifepath Church.

Monday Nights
Time: 7:00PM – 8:30PM
Location: Lifepath Church – Room 108
17703 W Little York Rd
Houston, TX 77084


Originally posted at: http://johnpavlovitz.com/2014/06/20/young-men-sex-and-urge-ownership-and-why-its-not-the-girls-problem/

by John Pavlovitz

Young men, I need to tell you something; something that maybe your fathers, or your coaches, or your uncles, or your buddies never told you, but something that you really need to hear.

Your sex drive? It’s your problem.

I know you’ve been led to believe that it’s the girl’s fault; the way she dresses, the shape of her body, her flirtatious nature, her mixed messages.

I know you’ve grown-up reading and hearing that since guys are really “visual”, that the ladies need to manage all of that by covering-up and keeping it hidden; that they need to drive this whole physical relationship deal, because we’re not capable.

That’s a load of crap.

You and me, we are visual.
We do love the shape of women’s bodies.
We are tempted and aroused by their physicality.

And all of that, is on us, not on them.

You see, we actually live in our bodies.
We direct the limbs and the words.
We choose what we grab, and touch, and rub-up against.

Our bodies ultimately do, only what our brains tell them to do.

Men, this is not a sex issue. It’s a brain issue.

This is about what we’ll choose to cultivate in our heads, and what we’ll choose to do with our hands as a result.

If I’m in a grocery store, and a woman’s standing next to me with a wide-open bag, filled with money; bills practically spilling-out onto the floor, is it OK to reach out and take any of it?

If I’m a man of integrity, and decency, and restraint; of course it isn’t.

The “visual” of that money will certainly be tempting, and I’ll probably instinctively run down the road in my mind about what I’d like to do with that much cash. Does it mean that it’s mine for the grabbing?

No. Why not?

Because the money’s valuable… and it doesn’t belong to me.

Would it ever be acceptable to rationalize, that because the woman is so careless and reckless with her own money, (money that I find enticing), that I’m somehow justified to take it?


Because the money’s valuable… and it doesn’t belong to me.

Guys, the girls you date, the ones in your class, the ones you meet on social media, the ones you pass on the street, the ones you hook-up with at parties: they’re priceless… and they don’t belong to you.

Sometimes, doing what’s right toward someone, even needs to transcend their attitude about themselves. If a girl you know shows too much, advertises too much, and offers too much, it doesn’t mean you can take too much, because it’s about the value you assign to her, and to yourself.

At the end of the day, young men, this is a matter of ownership.

You don’t now, and never will own her, and so any part of your actions that break the plane of her body, aren’t your jurisdiction, they’re hers.

The only thing you own; the only thing you’ll ever own, are your choices. 

That’s why it’s called self-control.

That’s an old-school idea, and it isn’t particularly “sexy”.
It’s not typical hip-hop song fodder.
It’s not something you’ll brag about in the locker room, and it won’t make a good multiplex movie.

It also the place where we move from being men in theory, to men in practice.

I’m sorry to have to break this news to you, as I know it’s probably difficult to hear.
It will certainly make life much more challenging, and you’ll probably have to make some changes as a result.
I also know that these words could alter your relationships now, and preserve your marriages someday.
They can protect women from damage, and nurture your character.

Control yourselves, men.
Be responsible for your responses.
Own your urges.

Healthy love is wonderful and makes life worthwhile. On the other hand, “love addiction” can cause pain, suffering, and even death. Knowing the difference between love and “love addiction” can be life-saving.

1. Healthy Love develops after we feel secure.
Addictive Love tries to create love even though we feel frightened and insecure.
2. Healthy Love comes from feeling full. We overflow with love.
Addictive Love is always trying to fill an inner void.
3. Healthy Love begins with self-love.
Addictive Love always seeks love “out there” from that “special someone.”
4 Healthy Love comes to us once we’ve given up the search.
Addictive Love is compulsively sought after.
5 Healthy Love comes from inside. It wants to give.
Addictive Love comes from outside. It wants to take.
6. Healthy Love grows slowly, like a tree.
Addictive Love grows fast, as if by magic, like those children’s animals that expand instantly when we add water.
7. Healthy Love thrives on time alone as well as time with our partner.
Addictive Love is frightened of being alone and afraid of being close.
8. Healthy Love is unique. There is no “ideal lover” that we seek.
Addictive Love is stereotyped. There is always a certain type that attracts us.
9. Healthy Love is gentle and comfortable.
Addictive Love is tense and combative.
10. Healthy Love is based on a deep knowing of ourselves and our lover.
Addictive Love is based on hiding from ourselves and falling in love with an ideal “image,” not a real person.


by Greg Laurie

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.
—Psalm 119:71

Did you know that everything you have experienced up to this point in your life can be used for good? That isn’t to say you haven’t experienced hardship. That isn’t to say bad things haven’t happened to you. But it is to say that God can work them out for good.

That includes the experiences of your childhood, whether good or bad. That includes your parents, whoever they may be. That includes your education, your present employment, or your lack of it. He will work all things together for good.

I went through hardship as a kid. I came from a home that was broken many, many times over, a home of alcoholism. I wouldn’t wish my childhood on anyone. But God used it to make me the person that I am.

In the same way, God has used what you have gone through to make you the person that you are. So let it be worked together for good, and accept God’s promise to you: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). The phrase work together also could be translated “working together.” In other words, it isn’t over yet!

Maybe you are going through a process right now in which God is working things together for good. You don’t see it yet. But you are a work in progress. Be patient. You have God’s word on it: He will work all things together for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. God is ultimately working all things for good — not just the good things, but all things.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Just as you have choices about how to interpret an event, you also have options about how to express those feelings you experience. Often we limit the range of our expressive options by erroneously believing that there are only two options: either directly expressing them to someone else (e.g., in a personal confrontation), or “swallowing” the feelings and keeping them to ourselves. In actuality, there are many ways to respond to your feelings and express yourself. To some extent, you express a feeling any time your behavior is influenced by that feeling, but the way you express that feeling, and the intensity of that expression can vary widely. This is where decision-making comes in. First, consider what your options are. For example, if a close friend is planning to move away, you may feel very sad about that. You have numerous options here. For example, you can tell your friend how much you will miss him/her. Also, you can make a special effort to spend more time with him/her. These options may be painful at the time, but they give you the opportunity to express your feelings to your friend. On the other hand, you can avoid the friend until he/she leaves town so you won’t have to say good-bye. Or you can stay busy making other friends so you won’t miss this particular friend as much after he/she leaves. These choices may allow you to postpone or avoid painful feelings at the time, but they do not provide the opportunity for closure with your friend. The point is that you have options, and it’s your decision. Here are some useful questions to consider when deciding how to respond to your feelings:
– Does the intensity of my feelings match the situation?
– Do I have several feelings that I need to pay attention to?
– What interpretations or judgments am I making about this event?
– What are my options for expressing my feelings?
– What are the consequences of each option for me?
– What are the consequences of each option for others?
– What result am I hoping for?
– What do I want to do?
– What if I do nothing?
Even doing something like taking a deep breath or going for a walk to think about it can be a way of responding to your feelings. Remember that you have many options when it comes to expressing emotions. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/

The best and most beautiful things
in the world cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart.
Helen Keller

Originally posted at: http://www.challies.com/christian-living/pornolescence


by Tim Challies

It is going to take time—decades at least—before we are able to accurately tally the cost of our cultural addiction to pornography. But as Christians we know what it means to tamper with God’s clear and unambiguous design for sexuality: The cost will be high. It must be high.

We all know the cost will be high in fractured families and heartbroken parents, husbands and wives. Already we are seeing far too many of these and each one is its own tragedy. We know the cost will be high in the countless thousands of women who are used and abused in front of cameras so they can be violated for other people’s pleasure. That is a sickening tragedy as well. But an overlooked cost, and one that will only become clear in time, is that porn is stealing the best years from a million young Christian men and women. Porn is dominating their lives during their teens and twenties. It is controlling their lives during those years when energy is high and responsibility is low, when the world lies open before them and the possibilities are endless, when they are charting the trajectories for the rest of their lives. Their dreams and their abilities are being hampered and squelched by a reckless commitment to sin.

Pornolescence is that period where he feels the guilt of his sin, but still enjoys it too much to give it up.

So many young Christians have stunted their spiritual growth through what I call pornolesence. Pornolescence is that period when a person is old enough and mature enough to know that pornography is wrong and that it exacts a heavy price, but too immature or too apathetic to do anything about it. Pornolescence is that period where he feels the guilt of his sin, but still enjoys it too much to give it up. He may make the occasional plea for help, or install Covenant Eyes (but keep a workaround for when he’s really burning up), or ask for an accountability partner. But he doesn’t really want to stop. Not yet. She may phone a friend on occasion or plan to speak to one of the older women in the church, but in the end her internal shame weighs heavier than her desire for holiness. So she continues on, night after night.

This is pornolesence, that period between seeing the sin for what it is and actually putting it to death, that period between the deep soul conviction of immorality and the stubborn commitment to purity. For some people it lasts days, but for many more it lasts for years. A lot of young people—too many young people—are growing up too slowly today. Their sexual awakening is coming far too early and amidst all the wrong circumstances, and it is delaying every other kind of awakening and maturing. It is especially delaying their spiritual maturation.

God will not allow you to soar to spiritual mountain tops while you stoop in pornographic filth.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 makes it as clear as day: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.” A Christian’s growth in holiness and his development in Christian maturity is directly and inextricably tied to sexual purity. A person cannot full-out pursue God while also full-out pursuing porn. It’s either/or, not both/and. God will not be mocked. God will not allow you to soar to spiritual mountain tops while you stoop in pornographic filth. God will not allow you to grow in Christian maturity while you wallow in your incessant pornolesence.

And I think time will prove that this is one of the gravest costs of pornography: It is stealing the best years from so many young Christians. It is stunting their spiritual growth and delaying their entrance into Christian ministry and service. These are the people who represent the future of the church—future elders, future deacons, future women’s ministry leaders, future youth leaders, future children’s workers, future mentors, future missionaries, future seminary professors, future defenders of the faith, future denominational heads, and on and on. But with each click, with each video, with each unblushing exposure to what God deems abhorrent, they choose to worship a god in place of the God. And all the while they delay their entrance into maturity, into leadership, into who and what God calls them to be.

If this is you, hear my plea: For the sake of Christ’s church, and out of love for Christ’s church, put that sin to death. Do it for Him, and do it for us.