Porn, Pastors, and Cultural Needs in the Church

med-1044-depressionAccording to a report filed by Mira Oberman for Yahoo News on September 11, 2015, a U.S. pastor committed suicide six days after his name was exposed by hackers of the Ashley Madison website.

Unfortunately, this tragic news shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who understands the realities of an imperfect church.

Reverend Jonathan Pearson, Pastor at Cornerstone Community Church and co-creator of,  states:

“Pornography is the most pervasive and destructive issue facing our generation today.”

We live in a society saturated with sensual images. These images have invaded our homes through print media such as newspapers, magazines, the Internet, cable TV, and  network TV. Advancements in technology have led to pornography being more accessible today than it has ever been. Porn can be accessed easily by any web enabled cell phone.

Recent surveys indicate that more than 50% of men and 25% of women within the church are addicted to Internet pornography. This includes, pastors, who are afraid to bring their secret into the light for fear of being fired from their positions or shamed as failures.

But churches need to be places where we can share our brokenness and find restoration, accountability, and healing.

1. People, including staff, should publicly talk about brokenness and how they found healing and restoration.

2. Pastors can create cultures of transparency by talking about their own lives.

3. Pastors should preach about sex and sexually related topics.

4. The church should equip parents to talk to their kids about sex and how to teach their kids about sex. This goes far beyond the “sex talk” and should begin before kids hit ten. Sex education today must include culturally relevant topics like sexual identity in an era of sexual confusion.

5. Pastors should encourage accountability and use of Internet filters, such as Covenant Eyes.

6. Pastors should encourage counseling, and whenever possible, include qualified Christian counselors a part of church staff.

7. The church should encourage spouses to share passwords to all computers, tablets, phones, etc.

For seven steps on how to integrate teaching on sex in your church, CLICK HERE.

Tributes to John Gibson poured in from students and faculty who remembered him as a kind, generous man who repaired students’ vehicles in his spare time.

“John was a popular member of our the college faculty,” seminary president Chuck Kelley said in an obituary posted on the school’s blog.

“He was particularly known for his acts of kindness to the seminary family. He was the quintessential good neighbor.”

Into the Light Miistries offers resources, including seminars and  for those within the church who are struggling with porn addiction. For more information contact also offers resources such as She’s Somebody’s Daughter, a music video that addresses the topic of pornography. Watch a clip HERE.

When an Addict’s Confession Goes Bad



tear-stained-faceToday’s guest post comes from friend and fellow writer Lori Lara.

When I was in my late teens, in a rare moment of vulnerability, I confided in an older Christian woman about my struggle with an eating disorder. My healthy, athletic body had turned rail-thin. Exhaustion and aching, atrophying muscles took over. Baggy clothes no longer hid my private efforts of controlling food, and I could feel everyone’s eyes scanning me top to bottom, measuring how sick I was. I hated feeling exposed like that. I was out of control and my life was in danger.

But I had no clue how to stop my addiction. Good Lord….He knows I tried.

Having been an extremely private person, my confession was no small feat. I was embarrassed and ashamed and disgusted with myself for not being able to be “normal.” Just eat. And don’t throw up. How hard can that be, right? You might as well have told me to live under water. It was that impossible to do.

So there I stood with my jugular exposed to this woman, admitting my secrets in a Hail Mary attempt to get help. Addiction had whittled my worth down to nothing. My self-loathing held the knife to my neck, getting a head start on the slicing.

Unfortunately, death spoke to me that day. I squirm with knots in my stomach every time I remember her words.

“It’s a sin,” She said in a flat, as-a-matter-of-biblical-fact tone. “You’re living in sin.”

I stared blankly. It’s a sin. That’s it? That’s all you can say? That’s your summary of me alternating between starving myself and throwing up every bite of food? That’s all you have to say about me standing here in front of you exposed with the burden so heavy I can’t bear it any longer? Jesus, I’m barely over 95 pounds and I can’t stop this freight train. Really? It’s a sin. Just cold, hard sin? If God had appeared in the flesh and slapped me across the face, it wouldn’t have wounded me more. That woman unknowingly buried me that day. She closed tomb of secrecy on me, leaving shame to devour me in my private hell. I felt nothing but pure humiliation and completely severed from God.

It would be another ten years before I’d trust another soul with my battle; and another fifteen years of addiction, losing a tiny bit of myself each day, before I received the healing that saved me.

Because most addicts suffer from depression and severe anxiety, confession is painful and scary. We expect rejection. We know judgment is coming. Yet the most tender, wounded parts of our hearts yearn for understanding and a soft place to fall. So when our vulnerability falls on the hard stone of someone’s icy judgment, it can feel like a death. The death of the hope of getting well.

Through my botched confession (and the subsequent ones that ushered healing), I learned there is no short cut around vulnerability; it is paramount in an addict’s life. No matter the addiction (food, porn, work, alcohol, sex, drugs, fill-in-the-blank); if people want to get well, they must share their most vulnerable moment of truth. It is sacred. It is holy. And if we’re privileged to sit across from someone who’s confessing the darkness, we need to handle that precious, brave soul with the utmost care, respect, and love.

Because Love is what heals, not judgment.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21

LoriLaraLori Lara is a writer, blogger, trauma survivor, and black belt martial artist. She’s passionate about sharing the hope and healing of Jesus through her raw journey as a mom and wife recovering from PTSD, depression, and addiction. Lori is a contributing author for Hope in the Mourning (Zondervan 2013) and The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide (Chicken Soup for the Soul 2014). She’s a guest writer for MOPS International and numerous recovery blogs and websites. Lori lives in Northern California with her husband Robert and two sons. You can find her blog at Email:

Review: The Flower of Grass by James E. Robinson

The Flower of Grass

The Flower of Grass

The moment I picked up The Flower of Grass, I was intrigued. The impressionistic watercolor cover drew me, but also the tagline: A powerful novel of a prodigal’s return. The mother of a prodigal, I wondered what the book might resurrect of my own emotional journey.

The Flower of Grass is an introspective yet engaging contemporary Christian novel. Written in a hauntingly lyrical, poetic style, James Robinson draws readers into an artfully spun web of emotional intricacy. John Allen returns to his small southern home town after the death of his alcoholic, abusive father. John’s been gone for sixteen years and returns to make amends with his responsible and care-worn sister, with his dropout younger brother, and to face the love he abandoned as a teenager. Characters, torn by the circumstances of life, do not face easy decisions. Loved ones die painful and agonizing deaths. The dreams they envision are torn from their hands by those who once filled their hearts with promise. Fathers abuse them. Lovers betray them.

Through incisive  insight and vivid imagery, this story paints portraits of the complexity of broken relationships, alcoholism, fidelity, and whether or not people can find hope in a world where fathers betray and abuse, and lovers walk out the door and never return. I recommend this book for anyone who has been a prodigal, who has known a prodigal, who has known failure, despair, desperation, betrayal, or lost love.

While not overly religious, The Flower of Grass presents a message of hope anchored to the biblical God of hope. The book makes use of limited profanity in keeping with the characters’ personalities and struggles. I recommend it to men and women interested in powerful fiction that digs to the roots of our human struggle with faith and our fallen nature.

Morningsong Launched

Making friends at the launch of Morningsong

Making friends at the launch of Morningsong

In spite of seeing smaller-than-expected crowds at the Dallas Christian Book Expo in March, I’ll have to admit that I had a fabulous time meeting new readers and chatting with folks who are fans of Hallie’s Heart. Take me anywhere and I’ll find friends and friends of friends, and the Book Expo was no exception.

During my free time I had the opportunity to chat with readers, retailers, and beloved friends in the publishing world. It was a special treat to enjoy the Picnic with the Authors venue offered by my Advanced Speakers and Writers Association and have the privilege of hearing many of my gifted AWSA sisters speak. For those of you looking for gifted conference speakers who speak nationally and internally on a wide range of subjects, be sure to check out the AWSA website.

 The Expo also provided an opportunity for me to spend time with a number of folks who came to the event looking for good books but who also needed one-on-one encouragement. I was privileged to be able to do signings for Ambushed by Grace: Help and Hope on the Caregiving Journey and found people thirsty for a listening ear and a word of hope.

I’m especially excited about the launch of Morningsong, a book that deals with the realities of struggling with chronic illness, as well as the challenges of families entangled in cycles of addiction. The book is written with the same accessible, humorous, yet approachable tone that makes it an appropriate and quick read for a teenager or adult. It presents heavy-hitting themes with a touch of grace. In conferences where I speak and reference Morningsong, people often purchase it to give to family members as a summer read or as a gift, hoping to use it as one means of broaching the difficult subject of addiction wrapped in a faith-based story of hope.

So I’m off to Seattle next, to speak at Warm Beach Christian Camp and Conference Center with the amazing and awesome Thelma Wells the weekend of April 24-25 and May 1-2. If you’re in the Stanwood, Washington, area, come on out to hear Mama T and me (I love the sound of that). I’ll be speaking on “The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk,” my upcoming June release. But more about that later.