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Porn: The Absence of Weight and Imminence

RoadTrip4

Tonight I went to a party with a handful of guys and girls. It was so refreshing to be around real humans, as sometimes I am deprived.

Being an extrovert, this is not a good thing.

After a cessation of human contact, especially with women, I can become detached a bit from reality as far as what it is like to interact with real people. Historically, after ‘interacting’ with people digitally for so long, in three main venues (films, Facebook, and porn), I have lost a sense of the ‘realness’ of other human beings. However, after a period of time, when I am once again reunited to other living, breathing humans, I recall beautiful things, like their insecurities and mannerisms, the warmth of their body as they give me a hug, the smell that is unique to each person on earth.

Their weight.

And I don’t mean 172 pounds. I mean the weight of simply being in the presence of another human being, how real it is. How, if you would reach out and touch them, they would feel the pressure of your finger.

With regard to pornography specifically, I lost sight of how love is meant to be reciprocated, not absorbed. I lose the sensation of the warmth, smell, and feel of another human body. The tragedy of our time is we could spend hours a day watching those videos and not grow a centimeter closer to another human being.

Porn cannot bear the weight of real, true, in-the-flesh humanity, and the relationships formed between us.

In a similar way, I realize that this consumption of pseudo-relationships has desensitized my relationship with God. I read the Bible and think about theology as if it were a purely mental exercise. I read the Bible in the same way I read No Country For Old Men, rather than as a letter written by the very real Creator of all things, whose presence is nearer to me than the ink in my tattoos. I think about Christ’s atonement and intercession for me as more of a pleasant thing to say than the all-consuming truth which consumes and defines my existence.

As porn has taken me further away from other humans, so has it trained my brain to be distant from the Lord.

I was driving home from the party and one word kept pressing into my mind: Imminence. Do I believe in the imminence of the Lord? Do I pray Maranatha (Come, Lord Jesus), as if it actually does anything? As if I’m actually talking to Someone? Do I believe Jesus is presently on His way back right now to take us home?

That He is as imminent as my next meal?

My next conversation?

My next breath?

Tonight I take comfort in the fact that even in my faithlessness, I am covered in the blood of the One who is faithful.

That in my wandering, He is true.

In my distance, He is near.

When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.

Psalm 73:21-28

e

44 comments on “Porn: The Absence of Weight and Imminence

  1. Keaton Buster

    Ethan,

    I saw the segment of you on WGN and decided to check out your blog. What I absolutely didn’t expect is to find a man that loves the Lord and is open, honest and vulnerable about his struggles. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to find someone who doesn’t try to hide their battles, but instead puts them out in the open for others to see, for the Lord to use and work through. Not only that, but you are an incredibly talented writer. I too, have struggled with addiction, with drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t until I opened my life up and allowed Christ to work, that I got clean. Four years now. I still struggle, but The Lord helps me daily. And I live my life to serve Him.

    I know you’re swamped with friend requests and emails from ladies that have seen the video of you shirtless. But if you want to talk to a woman that is interested in you because of your relationship with the Lord and your willingness to be vulnerable, feel free to contact me. You can find me on Facebook under Keaton Erin Buster, or email me at KeatonEBuster@yahoo.com

  2. Saw the news reel of you, and thought I’d check your blog. What a refreshing find! To find someone who is trying to better themselves in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your deep thoughts about religion and life.

  3. I like your honesty and plain writing, obviously from the heart and a thinking, pondering, searching mind. I get this post. I have been a stay-at-home mom since 1994. I work from home too. I have realized lately how much I lost touch with people and look forward to hopefully soon getting a position outside the home. I get the attraction to porn too. Even as a follower of Jesus. I am introverted but I still need to be around people sometimes. I go many days seeing only my husband as I am home 95% of the time. I feel like I have lost any social skills I may have once had. I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time I had with my son but I wish I noticed sooner that I needed to get out and started down that road earlier. My social life is mostly texting, emails and FB. And I have reached the point I can’t even get into porn anymore because I see how disconnected and lonely I really am. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  4. Saw you on WGN here in Chicago this morning! I actually saw the bit where you stated that you’re a Christian and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ in your life! It was so refreshing to see someone on television emphatically state this truth! Congrats on your shirtless fame – hilarious! Well, if it took that shirtless run for you to be brought back on television to proclaim your love for Christ, I’m with it! I went to your website to view the blog and I’ve enjoyed your entries and I’m contemplating purchasing your books. Keep your eye on the goal to LIVE AGAIN! I am believer who struggles daily as well, but God is faithful and I thank him everyday for his grace and mercy. Many blessings on your life’s path!

  5. Thanks for sharing this. It’s all too rare for anyone to talk about their issues especially sexual sins. We want to cover up our imperfections instead of expunging them. I hope that thanks to you recent internet fame God is glorified.

  6. Ethan…I commend and appreciate your raw and real honesty. You bare your hurts to strangers on this thing called the world wide web not knowing what kind of criticism or commendation you will get. That’s faith! And it shows how strong yours is! I understand the hard road to recovery and how easy it is to replace one hang-up with another until it becomes a vicious cycle of inventories and amends to the point of wanting to pull eyelashes out one by one…lol….but seriously, God Bless You Ethan! And if you ever make it to Las Vegas, stop by Sin City Church where our motto is to “love people to life”. Who knows…maybe you won’t feel as lonely.

  7. Ethan I appreciate your transparency and insight. This weekend I shared with my family and a girl I have been seeing that I have been porn free for almost a month. What a change in my spirit and outlook on life already! I too am a believer and what you said hit home.. I am no different than that d-bag annnnd my relationship with the Lord was driven further away the more I was consumed with my addiction. It started over 15 years ago and has been pretty full blown the last 10. I will be praying for you…please do the same for me. It is a battle. Take care my friend.

  8. Karen Chronister

    Saw your jogging in the rain video. Never expected this site. I need this. I’m not into porn but one sin is as another. I feel that i can’t be forgiven. That nothing I do makes a difference anymore. I am not pleasing to God. I feel lost and alone. I will look forward to your posts everyday. Thank you, Ethan, for your courageous honesty.
    Karen

  9. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. Even in the midst of sin. Learn to think it, say it, even at your worst moments. That is Grace, and that is what transforms and frees you. Believing right causes you to live right. In that order and no other.

  10. I really appreciated this today. It is a great reminder to me as I find I ask myself some of these same questions. The end of your post actually reminds me of a favorite song of mine, “Forever Reign” by Hillsong – love to sing about how he is good, he is love, he light, he is hope, he is peace, he is true, he is joy, he is life! Okay I’m probably rambling now – just wanted to say I appreciate your transparency and how you reach out of the Lord in weakness. Refreshing.

  11. Nice work. Even better revelations. Do you have contact info for potential radio interview? Always up for new faith oriented authors. Thanks Ethan.

  12. Your spiritual search is an interesting one. I’m personally opposed to pornography because of some of the aspects you’ve identified and have seen first hand. Oftentimes, people have to go through their own self-made trials to learn the good and evil of specific things and it sounds like you’ve already seen the negative aspects pornography can do to your spirit. I can’t imagine the Lord ever condoning pornography or any form of it. There have been studies done that pornography has the same affect on the brain that drugs does in terms of addiction. In my own family, I’ve seen pornography lead to molestation of my niece which lead to a divorce and the imprisonment of my former brother-in-law with his dishonorable discharge from the Army. I don’t see any good in pornography and I appreciate your honesty and self reflection. The Lord atones for our sins. I know this, but we have to be willing to come to Him and repent to be more like Him. It’s a comfort to know He is always there for us.

  13. I stumbled upon your blog because it was posted as a guest post on another blog I follow… I too suffer from a porn addiction, and have for years. But I am a woman, and sometimes it is honestly hard to find dialogue, support, understanding, etc… in the Christian community. So many want to sweep the problem of porn addiction under the rug instead of putting it out in the open -in the light- where sin can no longer hide. And it is rarely discussed among women in the church. Many still believe it is a “man’s problem”. Which I can emphatically tell you is not the case. I have found a large community of Christian women online struggling with the same issue. It is wonderful to hear their stories and have people who understand the daily struggle. And it is amazing to see a blog like yours where you are so brave and open about your addiction and discuss it freely.
    I really enjoyed your posts about intimacy, and all the others that I read. I will admit I just took a significant chunk of my afternoon reading many of your older posts. And I love that in this post you referenced Psalm 73… I have this exact passage on my bathroom mirror so I see it every morning and night. 🙂 This post is exactly what I needed to read today.
    Anyway, I apologize for the “rambly” nature of this comment. I just wanted to say thank you for writing so openly and honestly. God has given you a gift for words/writing, and I love the way you are using it. God bless you!

  14. Hillary Manning

    I read through your blog posts and I must commend you in your boldness as a Christian….a real Christian. Not a self righteous church goer but a broken down follower of God. Thank you for your testimony.

  15. I can’t stop reading your blog.
    Your choices of words and how you use them…it’s captivating, refreshing.
    I found you via Instagram, sent you a request hoping to see your photography as well. Since it does not show up on your site.
    I am also a lover of photography, but most importantly literature..writing…reading…everything with words.
    Just wanted to thank you for sharing such real and raw thoughts. They’re beautiful.
    Please don’t ever stop.
    Kayla.

  16. I’ll admit that I know about you because of the “shirtless jogger” clip that someone posted to their facebook, but I’m glad that someone else posted the link to your website in the comments. God bless you on your journey! Looking forward to reading more of your path.

  17. ginnylatte

    Great post! I admire your courage and transparency of being a porn addict. But more than anything, for having Jesus as a big part of your life. Keep blogging away! And keep your faith burning too! God bless. 🙂

  18. ginnylatte

    Great blog!

  19. As a fellow extrovert who spends a majority of my time in a virtual world… I appreciate your sentiments. Maintaining relationships in a virtual realm is “easy” but lacks a certain depth. I am reading the bible, not as a book, but in an attempt to define or perhaps reaffirm my faith. So far, my opinion is that if more people were to read the bible and make a concerted effort to live the Word, we would all be in a more connected & peaceful place. I wish you, more meaningful physical/face to face interactions, less porn 😉 and more of a connection to the words we read in the bible. Best wishes in the remaining days of 2015 & a happy new year! ~ Romans 12:2

  20. Stacy Davidson

    Have you read ‘Beautiful Outlaw’? I feel like the way you write you might like this book.

  21. Thank you for writing this post Ethan. I have been searching within myself for the reason why porn is not good for the soul. Even though I know it is not good, putting it into words was a little more difficult for my desensitised brain and believing that no one is getting hurt. It is almost strange that one does not feel the little pieces that break off and fade away.

  22. Lori Whitcomb

    I ran into your shirtless run in the rain story on the Today site while mindlessly surfing the Internet and stumbled upon this link. I read several negative comments in the Today site, mostly in regards to you being arrogant and a loser based your colorful job ground. I must shamefully admit that I had come to the same conclusion until I read your “real story”. I am so incredibly impressed with your candid and open discussion of porn addiction. Your gifted writing beautifully portrays the realities of this disease. My family has been directly impacted by the effects of porn. I have a brother who is a recovering addict. His life was shattered due to his addiction and many years were wasted in denial. While many consider a him, a 38 year old man with a Masters in Engineering working at Target in with no significant other, a failure, I see a man who is fighting incredibly hard to escape the tentacles that ensnare one with this type of addiction. My second brother is also a porn addict aimlessly wondering looking for love, compassion and understanding in all the wrong places. Just last week, my sister tearfully shared that her 14 year old son has been addicted to porn for 2 years. I fear for my own 2 sons and am vigilant in providing opportunities for discussion about the physical and spiritual effects of pornography.

    Thank you for your bravery to fight against what most consider mainstream, acceptable and even healthy. Thank you most of all for sharing the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I truly believe it is the only anecdote for the poison of porn. Only through His atonement are we able to be more then we could ever be alone. Only through him are we given second chances. Only through Him are we taught the epitome of love and sacrifice.

    I do not find it happenstance that you were interviewed, albeit in a quite unconventional setting. God has given you this brief moment in eternity to share your story and your wisdom. Use it wisely. There are many who will try to tear you down but remain strong and remember that God with his armies of angels are fighting your battle, hand in hand. May God bless you!

  23. Transparent. Needful. Thank you for writing so.

  24. MsVoorhees

    Some people consider these two topics taboo, which is stupid. I like how you mix porn and religion into your writings. It’s cool how open you are with your audience about your spirituality, and about watching porn. Some people deny watching porn; they are afraid to admit they have feelings, and desires. It’s a refreshing read.

  25. martin henry

    re: Porn: The absence… Hey Ethan, got here via that storm of social media about you jogging shirtless. This is just to say that because of that, your thoughts and faith have touched and blessed me here. Thanks. Keep journeying. Martin, Guernsey, Channel Islands UK

  26. Janie Simmons

    I agree with what you say about how many people interact i.e. through technology – it is so important to have the human touch in our lives, and I believe we should seek the same kind of intimacy with God – look forward to reading your blogs

  27. Wow, you’re an isquisite writer. Not only does it have great content, but you’re so eloquent. To any of those people saying you’re just the way you look, or not taking the time to actually see what is important to you; You guys are missing out.

  28. Siobhan S.

    I couldn’t agree more with this post. It is so easy to get caught up in the digital world, that we miss out on real communication. The kind of communication that is done face to face verbally, and non verbally. When I’m able to actually be in th presence of my friends and entertain and converse with them, is when I truly feel alive again. I always leave those moments feeling as though my communication on all fronts needs to improve. The most important conversation ending the one with God.

  29. Thank you for sharing this Ethan. I find myself feeling the same way in social environments. We become so desensitized to the world around us. I too struggled with porn for a good bit of my life, until I was wrecked by the Lord & His spirit moved me too freedom.
    Great post- keep sharing & being honest.

  30. You are perfect 😍 how can I contact you??

  31. Dear Ethan,
    You were everywhere “shirtless guys running in rain.” I decided to find you and see what you were about especially since I saw somewhere that you were abstinate. Now, I am not after you, I just like seeing why you did what you did.
    After reading your post you opened my eyes to the way I’m living. I am a porn addict who is also abstinate. I watch it and act as if it hasn’t done damage to my life or relationship with Christ, when it definitely has. I tell myself every time that I am going to stop but it seems as though the efforts that I make do not matter because I go back to it rather than reading my bible or praying. Thank you for sharing bits of your journey, I truly do appreciate it.
    I know you say you’re looking for love but could it be too soon? I hope you have prayed about it and the Lord is leading you in the right direction. Do not go by the flesh or of this world but by the works of the Lord. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

  32. Hi Ethan. I write at blog, Sex and the State. I just saw the BuzzFeed thing and I’d love to interview you about sex, love, and dating.

  33. snarkanista

    Hello,

    Not surprisingly, I discovered your site after reading about Chicago’s Shirtless Wonder. It’s not the most wholesome introduction but I’m glad that I did. This piece was really powerful. I don’t have a similar porn issue but I completely relate to being desensitized in my relationship with God. Thanks for being so open with your faith walk and struggles. It’s inspiring. The great shoulders are a nice bonus.

  34. A friend and I were just talking about porn and relationships the other day. Your recent blog was very refreshing to see. I think as a Christian when you are immersing yourself more and more in the porn world it most definitely the devil leading you away from Christ. You can’t expect to have a great relationship with others and the Lord if your being led away from Christ. There are many temptations out there so I like to remind myself of Roman’s 12:1-2. Great post.

  35. The most refreshing part: you’re a God-fearing man. Be blessed.

  36. How interesting. I kept thinking: does he meditate? Not as a way to empty the mind, but a prayerful meditation that could purify the mind and connect you to God’s attributes – wisdom, love, joy, life, abundance and harmony – already within you (: experiencing objectification is an interesting means to value spirituality

  37. To Ethan and everyone else who can read this:
    Do NOT for one second let the enemy make you believe that just because you struggle with ____ that The Lord can not use you in a powerful way. How often do we believe this lie and let it paralyze us with fear and heap shame on our shoulders to the point of being unbearable to carry?! Just LOOK at the POWER of vulnerability, look at how The Lord is working through a man IN SPITE OF his struggling with an addiction and using it for His glory to influence and impact people that Ethan would’ve have been able to reach otherwise. Too often we have our mind focused, consumed even, on that “hump” we believe is keeping us from doing big things for God or separating us from Him – When the very heart and character of God is not to stand and look down and watch us struggle to climb over the “hump” all by ourself – NO! – His desire is to RUN TO US from the other side, jump past the hump to wrap us up in His arms, to speak gentle words of encouragement, to affirm us as His precious child and comfort us, to hold our hand and guide us over that “hump” every single step of the way – NEVER leaving or forsaking us. His love is a PURSUING LOVE. He goes after the lost sheep. He does not and will not give up on you. There is absolutely NOTHING irredeemable about you. The Lord does not waste anything –
    He turns our pain into purpose people. He RESTORES. He HEALS.

  38. Hey, I just came from watching an interview with you after the whole “shirtless jogging guy” thing blew up and heard that you had a blog. Since I’m late night browsing I decided to check it out. It really amazed me how you can be so open about about the things you’re dealing with. I also have struggled with watching porn and I hate how it draws me away from the Lord and His Word. A few people in my life know, but I try not to burden them with my problems so I don’t really have an accountability partner. How can I turn away from this? I’ve been struggling with this since I was 13, so it’s been 10 years now. I want to heal and be free from this addiction. I know I need to turn to God and His Word, but I’m having such a difficult time feeling motivated to read my Bible. Any advice?

    • contact me! ^^ (contact tab)

    • If I may post this also, Ethan, here is a link to an online community of Christian women who are recovering porn addicts – Dirty Girls Ministries (part of WHOLE Women Ministries). It is a great place to find an accountability partner and has a lot of resources.

      Bethany- I urge you to check it out- it has helped me a lot with my recovery and relationship with Jesus. It’s nice knowing you aren’t alone in a struggle like this.

      http://dirtygirlsministries.com/

  39. Just saw you on Fox & Friends. You are adorable and I predict you won’t be lonely for long. But be discerning- you deserve the best. Lots of love to you and a Merry, Merry Christmas. For a good read about spirituality and what’s happening on earth energetically check out Brian Grottan- Mahatma 1 & 2. He died a few years ago but it’s still very relevant. XOXO!

  40. You may be encouraged by adisciplesnotebook.com

  41. I was showing my kids how you are blowing up my Twitter feed. So I finally bit and read your blog. You would enjoy reading Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II. God bless you.

  42. I have been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of friends choosing to be the brave one and set the bar of vulnerability. It’s difficult to be that meek person and to choose to confess the sins that can cause such shame, but the friendships I am most grateful for have been with those who initiate disclosure and humble themselves to show Jesus’ greatness. Thank you for sharing; I’m certain you’ve impacted more people than could thank you for being that person.

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