It’s so cliche, among the “manosphere.” The Matrix references. Yet so incredibly accurate. Frank E. Peretti had a similar idea maybe two decades ago, with his book “The Prophet.” The main character receives a spiritual gift of prophecy, and then occasionally he sees the flat truth, over lies. His coworkers see a manager irate over a news story that hit on abortion–he sees her defensively screaming “It was my right! You can’t judge me!”
Both metaphors fit well to what I experienced.
So. I was at your typical successful suburban church, probably 600 people there on Sunday mornings. A place called North Metro Church, in Kennesaw. The pastor was a typical pastor, wrong side of 40, (surprisingly in decent shape, not fat) and opening his sermon with the required joke/funny story. And, he preached about lust.
You know a good amount where this is going. He gave the textbook story about the guy ogling the waitress in front of his wife (I seriously think whoever that guy was should get royalties, for the amount of times his story has been retold) about how when you look at a person with lust “you reduce them to a sexual object, denying the amazing spiritual being made in God’s own image” and throughout his 30 minute sermon, dropped an amazing two, maybe three lines of “women can lust too, sometimes.”
The end of his sermon was what blew me away, because I could see right through it. The truth was literally screaming off the screen at me, but three years ago, maybe four, I would have completely missed it.
It was about how porn almost destroyed a marriage. The video opens, blah blah, and there’s a couple. I honestly can’t remember exactly what was said–because it wasn’t important. The basics were important–because if any decent amount of people had caught it, the video would never had aired. Hell, the husband in the video would never have agreed. The husband was in the background of the video, looking forlorn, repentant, and downright hangdog. The wife was closer to the screen, showing her importance, how she was in charge, the one in control. Shoulder length hair, probably 30 pounds overweight.
The talk was the basic. The wife had had a child, the intimacy had stopped, and the husband looked at porn for relief. The wife had been infuriated, the husband ashamed, the marriage had almost broken up. One line the wife said… “I nearly hated him, when I found out he had given something promised to me to other women.”
When that line didn’t cause a chorus of “WTF?” from the audience, I knew they were goners. Still blind, or still locked in the Matrix. Pick your poison. Anyway.
What I heard,
Hangdog, beaten husband: “After we had our child, she started refusing sex. For months, and I started feeling down. So I watched some porn for relief. But the guilt was eating me up, and it became a habit for months. So I confessed my sin to my wife…”
Fat, bossy wife: “When I found out that I couldn’t completely control him and use him like that, that there were consequences for doing things like denying sex for months (which church has kindly never preached on) I was outraged, afraid. I hated him, I wanted a divorce.”
Whipped husband: “But, I submitted to her authority again, begged and pleaded, and submitted to being humiliated in front of our pastor, and now our church. And we’re working through this marriage. We even had sex twice this year.”
The message I took away?
1. Never get married to some church girl.
2. Be a man, and be in charge.
3. Why am I wasting my time in church, so I can hear more sermons aimed at the evil men, with maybe 3 sentences trying to weakly include the women in on the “mortal sinners” category without offending the little princesses?