What Everyone (And No One) Is Talking About – Guest Writer

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. This week my wife was feeling a stirring in her heart to share some of her own thoughts on issues that we are both passionate about. I’m super proud of her boldness and ability to articulate from an honest, compassionate, heartfelt standpoint on a controversial issue that continues to be such a joked-about, casual, pop-culture reference. Maybe we aren’t the ideal problem-solvers, but perhaps her and I can get the conversation started. Without further delay, I introduce you to my beautiful bride, Allie Meyer, and her writing in the form of a guest-blog post.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what’s a video worth? Video is pictures frame-by-frame that flash by so fast, they appear they’re actually moving. So, does that make a video worth ten thousand words or even a million words? Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth nothing at all. When the things that you’re seeing and watching can cause you to stumble, is it worth it?

There is a topic that has been looming around in my head lately and it’s a topic that simultaneously is both never talked about and always talked about is pornography. It’s a topic that people freely joke about with friends or is alluded to on the radio but yet also is kept in secret and like a skeleton in our closets. I suppose it’s also a topic that rarely gets any air time with parents talking to their children or people reaching out to ask for help when they feel like they’re trapped in it or it’s consuming them.

I grew up in a Christian home, but I also went to a public high school. I of course had the uncomfortable “birds and bees” talk at home and the “how to not get STD’s” talk at school. But a topic that wasn’t ever discussed in either of those was porn and the complications that it can add to your life. The stress it can add to your relationships. The shame, depression, and anxiety it causes to your overall well-being, and not to mention, the isolation it will eventually produce.

Now let me set this straight: I’ve honestly never struggled with any of these things nor have I ever sought out any type of pornographic content. I have however, been subjected to Hollywood’s decision to include some kind of sexual content in every movie. That’s not necessarily porn, but in the end, was it necessary? (This is a whole other post, but a good point nonetheless.) I digress…

So needless to say, porn wasn’t something that ever crossed my mind. It wasn’t until someone close to me opened up about their addiction to it and their struggles that I ever really understood what it was. Here it is – a billion-dollar industry in our world, and I literally had little idea it existed or what it even consisted of. In the moment I played it off as though I knew what they were talking about, but deep down I felt so naïve and like this was a foreign place they were talking about. Unfortunately, it’s something that I’ve gathered more knowledge about and learned why this addiction is so rampant in our world. It’s rampant because it’s so readily accessible by literally anyone. Think about how easy it is to search things on YouTube, or how hashtags have changed the way you browse social media. Teenagers can have unlimited access to content that they shouldn’t with just a click of a button. This causes there to be millions and millions of people out there consumed by lust and this addiction, but likely there are also millions who are naïve like I was.

Why is that?

I think it all goes back to awareness. It never was mentioned growing up. Not at home, school, church, etc. All of my friends could have been struggling with it for that matter and I could have never known. I think that we, as not just Christian people, not just one political party, not as one gender; we just as people need to talk and do something about it. What that something is I don’t know, but we can’t continue to allow people to fall into this trap of lies and loneliness.  How can we as humans rally together to create awareness and support those who are struggling, those who are directly affected by it, and those who haven’t been exposed but can be spared the turmoil and heartache?

I believe that personally my heart is drawn to those who are just bystanders. The people who are spouses of addicts. The people whose relationships are fragile because their partner used to struggle with it. The kids who might learn what porn is from some jokes shared at school and never hear what terrible things that this new addiction could lead to. I feel led to find ways to be a listening ear to those who feel they can’t trust their spouse as well as be an advocate for those who might not know what problems it can cause until they’re in deep.

I often pray for those struggling and ask God why can’t he do something about it. But I feel like God is asking me “What can you do about it?”. So here I sit, not a writer of any sort asking you to help me find ways to bring attention to a topic that has been in the dark for far too long and how to bring it into the light. With the dark being such a lonely place, the only way out is through relationships and Jesus. We ALL have to be vulnerable if we ever want to beat this thing head on. When we bring things into the light others can be praying and guiding you. Let’s unite together to leave those movies worth no words in the darkness, and bring all people into the light.

Vulnerability

The Communication Gap

Today, we live in a world that is infinitely connected, yet farther away from one another than ever before. I have missionary friends in India that I can video-chat with via a variety of platforms, yet we find it difficult to communicate honestly, heart-sensitive issues with close friends, family, or coworkers, in a face-to-face, interpersonal setting.

Why is that?

It seems the majority of my peers would rather text than talk on the phone. Enduring the occasional ‘awkward’ silence and carrying on a conversation have become complex, laborious tasks that we would much rather avoid, if at all possible. And if we have to endure such a hardship, they better by golly know that we love them.

This mindset baffles me. There are many reasons behind the veil of communicative safety that we place ourselves behind, and I get it, to some degree. As an apt conversationalist, with a primarily extroverted personality, it is much easier for me to talk to anyone I want to, and much more difficult for others. I’m aware of that. I’m also aware of the ways in which I will often attempt to separate myself from any concrete connection to the words I speak, for fear they will not be fully accepted, or taken seriously. An example of this would be discounting a rather bold statement with nervous laughter afterward, or saying something along the lines of, “that’s JUST my opinion, anyways.”

Is this an acceptable and healthy way for us to live and interact with one another?

I argue that, “No, it is not.” There is nothing safe about trapping all of your innermost worries, burdens, desires, aspirations, dreams, crushes, and the like. Precautions should be taken to protect your heart. Absolutely. However, I believe that we are in an era that must call the twentysomethings and older to a higher standard of boldness in communication. After all, we are adults, and there is no reason to behave as passive-aggressive children anymore.

So, how do we bridge this communication gap that permeates the deepest levels of our culture?

If I were to have to choose between a bite-your-lip-and-keep-it-all-in communication style or a just-say-it mentality, I would choose to just-say-it, every time. Sure, it’s messy. Sure, you’ll say something stupid. Sure, someone might get hurt. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. But guess what? You’ll be living! You’ll have actual, meaningful relationships with actual, real people that probably actually care about you, because they’re still taking the time to talk to you, aren’t they? And we’ve already discussed just how difficult that is.

A just-say-it culture would be entirely different from the passive communicative setting we currently have ourselves used to. It would call for men to honestly state their feelings in relationships with the opposite-sex; it would require a bolder scope of dialogue; it would mean a lot more communicating, and a reciprocal level of increased community. Suddenly, an increasingly isolated, lonely, confused generation would be pressed closer together, because they’d be going deeper with one another.

I don’t think people should be so afraid to be themselves. One of America’s most revered freedoms is the ability to express oneself through the freedom of speech. Are we really free if constantly pressured to avoid entire honesty due to exterior pressures like the government or interior pressures like family, the church, and work? I’m an advocate of being yourself. Opposition to this idea would say that this encourages bad-behavior through word and deed, because that sort of freedom can lead to rebellion. My counterargument is simply that people will always do what they want to do; I simply think it is time we say what we want to say, and learn to productively, lovingly, and humbly deal with the consequences. Whether ‘good’ or ‘bad’, at least we will be brave, rather than cowardice, living rather than dead, and in communication rather than isolation.

But, these are “just my thoughts” (remember what I said earlier?), what are yours?