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Don’t Talk to Me About White Privilege

I’m sure it’s a thing, white privilege. One need look no further than, say, Donald Sterling to know that there’s something very wrong with the world, that systemic racism exists.

That white privilege is a thing.

But don’t talk to me, a white guy, about it. Because white privilege, insofar as I can tell, never did a damn thing for me.

Let me explain.

Behind the middle class fačade, was an empty home. A home devoid of any real sense of security, or love. Emotionally distant, and uninvolved, my dad couldn’t keep it in his pants, “screwing around” on my mom for fourteen out of sixteen years. And my mom? When he left, she had to take on two, and sometimes three, jobs to keep us fed, and a roof over our heads.

The net effect is that I lost both parents.

While there may in fact have been more creature comforts, I was still latchkey. I came home to an empty house day in and day out. Left to my own devices, I didn’t get into drugs, but rather porn. Nobody cared.

Nobody cared when the centerfolds went up on my bedroom wall. They just closed my door, and pretended they weren’t there. There was no dad, or father figure, to tell me that women were not objects, or hos, that existed just for me. Nobody cared when I stayed up late at night, watching the racy movies.

I was, by and large, ignored.

Like Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, I was ignored. Until I fucked up, that is. Then it was all OMG! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?

But even then it was mostly bark, no bite. People couldn’t bother to really care. I mean my mom once took my cigarettes away, saying she didn’t want me to smoke. She hid them literally on front of face, like I wouldn’t retrieve them almost immediately.

The list goes on. The greatest travesty of my upbringing was that it was virtually consequence-free: there were no real boundaries, and thus no real, tangible, sense of love…

Wait. I can recall one thing that white privilege gave me:

My mom, the counselor, threw me an eighteenth birthday party. She and her boyfriend vacated the house so I could have friends over. Did I mention that she brought me along with her to the videostore to rent pornos? Yep, she did. And she, the youth diversion coordinator, also supplied all the booze we could drink, including hiding a bottle of Southern Comfort in my bed.

Lucky me, right?

So there’s my white privilege upbringing,  people. Didn’t, and still doesn’t, feel very privileged to me. To this day, my relationship with mom is strained; and with my dad, it’s nonexistant.

Divorce and dysfunction hath it’s privileges, eh?

She Was Always There

'girl with braids' photo (c) 2008, dmarklaing - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

She was always there. When life got hard, she was there with open arms, and a warm smile. She understood me, knew everything about me, and never turned me away.

She was always there. Down through the years, over the highways and byways, she never let me down. There was solace at her bosom, and a great warmth in her heart. To be near her was to know life.

She was always there. Oh, her visage changed over the course of years, but that was to be expected, right? No one stands immune to ravages of time… Except her. She was somehow perpetually youthful.

She was always there for me. Until it was time to be free.

Her name was not “grandma,” or “mom, ” or even “wife.”

No, her name was pornography, and she lied to me.

Even so: she never made me look. I was the mook who let himself be carried away by her Siren song.

She was always there, until I understood that she was never there at all.

Who, or what, has always been there for you? Have you sought solace in places, or things, you shouldn’t have?

Freedom, Responsibility, Liberty, & License

We live in a world where it’s all too easy to blame, and cast aspersions, rather than take personal responsibility. This always works so much better, right? I’m broken, we’re broken, because of our parents, our life experiences… It’s always the other guy’s fault.

Guns, and pornography, for instance, are always hot button issues. We keep trying to legislate around them.

It’s a losing battle.

Because neither guns, nor pornography, are the problem. No, the problem is the needy beast of a thing which beats within our chests. The brokenness which compels us to shoot, the desires which bid us look.

Porn doesn’t make us look, nor do guns make us shoot.

Beyond that, what rights do we, the bond slaves of Christ, truly have? We are free in him, of a surety, but freedom apart from responsibility is mere liberality, and is a license for all manner of justifications. (I speak here from experience). 

We each of us need to look to our own hearts, and stop blaming the man, the system, the government… All are broken because we are broken. And as long as we live in this world–in Act III of history–freedoms will be abused, evils will be done. That is what free will means: we have the freedom to choose the right, or the wrong.

And the consequences of these choices unfortunately affect more than just us. Some drop like a pebble in a pond–causing ripples–and others crash like an avalanche of destruction.

Yet without this very freedom, we would not know love. Without evil, we would not know good. Without the choice betwixt the two, we are mere automatons.

Choose love today. Choose, even if hurts you–even if it takes from you something you want.

And pray with me, Maranatha! Even so, please, Lord, come.

The Insidious Nature of the Evil One and the Pain of Pornography

In A Boy and His Drug, I wrote of how I was not only allowed, but encouraged as a young boy to look at pornography. How that period lasted from the ages of ten-eighteen.

In The Unexpected Face of Grace I wrote of how God brought grace, and freedom, to me unexpectedly.

This is the rest of the story.

How I wish that had been the end of the story. How I wish, after breaking free, throwing out all of my posters and magazines, that I had never again looked at pornography.

As much as I’d like it to be true, I can’t say that. You see, as life got hard–had its trials–porn was there, cycling in, and out, of my life. I didn’t want to look, but I did. It was familiar. It was a friend from my youth.

Not really requiring anything from me, it had never let me down. Friends that is the insidious nature of evil, and of the evil one. First to tempt, then accuse. To first tell me “This will make you feel better,” only to follow it with “You horrible sinner! You call yourself a Christian! What would your wife think?”

Now let me be plain: Satan didn’t make me sin. I sinned–I chose to heed the voice of temptation. And true to his nature, the enemy was there to ensure I received a proper beat down for my choice. He’s not known as the “accuser of the brethren” for nothing.

In my guilt, and shame, I would cry out to God, confess to Him, tell Him how sorry I was. But in that spirit of that shame, believing I was alone in my wretchedness, I never told another human soul. And there was my undoing: I told no one. Not my wife, friends, anybody.

I bore the burden alone.

And so it went for many years–lather, rinse, repeat.

Until the time where I either wasn’t careful, didn’t care, or wanted to be caught: my Internet history found me out. Or rather my wife found my Internet history.

And what a blow that was–to me, yes, but much more to her. What do you suppose Satan’s message was to her? That her husband’s involvement in pornography was a way to anesthitize his pain, and stemmed from his childhood?

Not even close.

It was: “You’re not enough.” He looks at this stuff because you’re not enough woman for him. Thereby compounding his lies. He took my sin, and used it to assault her in the very core of her being: her femininity.

Even though to me it was never about sex, but rather medicating the pain of a life I couldn’t control. It was my besetting sin.

How I wish I’d never hurt her in that way, could take it all back. But I can’t. However, it is now covered under the blood, and not something I struggle with anymore.

Why? Why don’t I struggle with it? Why is it not cycling into, and out, my life like before?

There are five key reasons:

1) I have a God Who loves me enough to not leave me as I am.
2) I have a wife who, despite the pain I caused her, loves me enough to not leave me as I am. And who encouraged me to seek help.
3) I found help at Celebrate Recovery, and confessed my sins to similarly struggling men. I was astounded to learn that I wasn’t alone. Of all the lies Satan tells us, that’s got to be the biggest: that we are alone.
4) As corny, as cliché as this may sound, God spoke to me through Dr. Phil. The good doctor was doing an episode that featured a segment on porn, and said something that was seared into my soul: “That’s somebody’s daughter.”

That’s somebody’s daughter. I have a daughter. Would I want someone, somewhere, looking at my daughter? That thought alone brought me up cold–because the answer was a resounding “NO!!!!”

5) There is accountability in confession: by choosing to put my story out there I disarm the enemy. He’s no longer able to accuse me here in this place–because it’s not a secret anymore. And having done so, I was again astonished to learn that I’m not alone.

——————

Mike Foster of POTSC says this: “Being brave with your story gives others the courage to be brave with theirs.”

Anne Jackson puts it this way: “By going first, you give others a gift. The gift of going second.” Meaning someone has to be brave, be courageous, share the uncomfortable–because you never know who you’re going to encourage by doing so.

Will you be brave today, give someone the gift of going second? You don’t have to share here, but please do find somewhere to share. You’re not alone.

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