Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sexual Integrity

Yesterday (Saturday, August 18) I returned to San Antonio from a trip to Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. A group of eight from our church attended the Celebrate Recovery (CR) national Summit 2007. Over 3,500 persons were there.

We are in our third year of CR at our church. It is a 12-step program designed to serve folks with all sorts of hurts, habits and hangups. Sure, CR deals with addictions to alcohol and drugs; but, it is so much more than that. Any kind of hurt a person might be carrying inside, any kind of destructive habit, any relationship-destroying hangup is fair game.

During this Summit, I became aware of a new area that needs to be addressed in our churches: sexual immorality. I attended a group of over 200 men who admitted to be struggling with sexual addictions---things like lust, pornography, sexual infidelty, adultery, etc. I heard confessions of how sexual obsessions had been extremely destructive to lives, marriages, jobs and careers.

I also heard men say they have been "sober" or "clean" from impurities for days, months, even years. I heard men proclaiming a hunger for holiness. Men whose lives had been restored.

I was directed to a book: Every Man's Battle by Steven Arterburn, Ph.D. He is a psychologist whose book has been used as a study guide for those seeking freedom from sexual obsessions.

A study will be proposed to our Adult Ministries and Council on Ministry. Hopefully a study called "Sexual Integrity" can be offered through our church. And, after the eight-week course, a "maintenance share group", and 12-step program hopefully will be started at Celebrate Recovery.

We live in an age where sexually-stimulating imagery and language is presented to us many times a day: in entertainment media, print media, advertisements, in daily conversations, in our choices of clothing. Pornography, in whatever form it is presented tends to restrict the dimensions of our relationships. We as a people have a real need to learn to control and appropriately use the sexual aspects of our life.

I am aware that Celebrate Recovery, and much of the sexual integrity literature that is out there may take a reactionary, rigid, puritanical position on sex. I don't belong in that camp. But, I do believe that sexual addiction (especially lust, pornogoraphy and adultery) can be very destructive to the most precious relationships we share.

As I learn more, I will write more.