Tag Archives: relationships

Mommy Porn and the ugly side of romance novels

Are you addicted to Mommy pornography?

Today at church was one of the most real conversations I’ve ever heard. A pastor and his former protégée spoke on stage about the man’s moral failure, related to pornography and who knows what else. I’m glad they didn’t go into details. If you want to be blown away, take the time to watch this sermon. #JRCLife


But if you are one of the few people leftover in a Siberian gulag and you just got out, you might not be aware of the amazingly devastating effects that pornography is having on our world today. Pornography is one of the fuels of the global sex trade industry. It costs economies billions of dollars a year (just do the research on the bandwidth it takes up in Africa, where bandwidth is at a premium.) Porn, by even non-religious standards, is an evil, demeaning, dehumanizing putrid evil. Its also incredibly addictive.

I’m sure you’d agree.

However, I’ve noticed that the same people who will “tut-tut-tut” those poor souls addicted to visual imagery do not have the same moral compass when it comes to their reading habits.

The whole category of “mommy porn” applies to literature mostly targeted a moms, who fuel the romance novel industry. You know, the flowing hair guys with big pecks and the poor distressed lonely woman recovering from a dude who broke her heart. Half way through the story, he comes back in, love triangle. Repeat ad nausea.

I confess. I loved Jane Eyre. I read the book with Mr. Darcy and it was a good story.

But recently I picked up a novel where the author went into the mind of a sexual pervert. A rapist. My favorite author. My favorite genre, a spy novel. And I put it down.

If I wouldn’t watch the movie, why would I read the story?

I don’t want that in my mind. And just because the images come from words on the page doesn’t make them equally powerful. Equally addictive. And equally wrong.

When a man’s pornography habits are exposed, society places huge shame upon his shoulders. And rightfully so.

But If I were to read those steamy passages from those romance books, out loud, to your kids, would you feel good about it?

Where do you ideas of adult interactions come from? Your lustful books? Your sexually charged romance scenarios? Your flower-powered , verbal love fests that lead to a romp in the sheets?

Maybe I’m wrong. But when something comes onto TV that wrong, I was trained by my dad to look away. But we never really talked about books.

Maybe it’s a conversation we should have…..

with Jesus.

3 questions to ask after a potential donor says “no.”

My dad’s life growing up was one I didn’t want. At least not the part where we lived in the US. As missionaries with the AG, our system requires us to come home every 4 years to replenish our support.


Here’s how the system works. You get a list of churches in your district. You start calling. You talk mainly to answering machines and church secretaries. You knock and knock and knock. Eventually you get invited to come speak. About a third of those will add you to their support list. Dad spent most of his time doing this when living in the US. For some years, so did I.

The problem is that the system is very inefficient and the Return on Investment is low, because so many calls are wasted. They don’t have to be though. Here are 3 things that you can do after you are told “no” by a potential donor.

  1. Ask for their permission to add them to your email list.

Building a support base is about building relationships. Over time, your emails will make you more known.  Ask the person taking the call for the church’s main email, the contact for the missions committee, or the staff member in charge of missions. If you’ve spoken to the pastor, ask to add them to your list. (You have an email list right?)

2. Ask where the pastor can most likely be found online.

Is pastor a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram guy? Does he blog? Most pastors will respond to a friend request. Then start building a friendship online with him, staff and the church. If you’ve talked to the pastor and gotten a “no”, still ask about their online presence.

3. Ask for a prayer request.

Pray for the secretary, or the receptionist, or whomever you talk to. When you call back, make sure you ask about that prayer request and how it went.  Praying for, rather than asking of, will change your heart as well as connect you with this church. Remember, you are first and foremost in ministry. Minister to those you can minister to, whether they can help you or not.

So what are other ways you’ve used to continue the conversation after you’ve gotten the “no” from pastors?

Confessions of a Closet Cheerleader

Today, our guest post is from Tabby Finton. Tabby is a regular contributor to Bridging the Gap blog. She and her husband Steve Lead Abundant Life in Blaine, Mn.

Be True to You  or “Confessions of a Closet Cheerleader”– Tabby Finton


It took me long enough to figure it out, but I’m a cheerleader at heart. That statement in and of itself cracks me up, quite honestly. This admission will shock a few of my friends. When I tried out for the cheerleading squad in junior high school, I wasn’t chosen because “I wasn’t loud enough.” Really? No one would ever guess that now.

But the truth I’ve discovered about myself is that I was made to encourage people. It’s in the very central makeup of who I am. But I stumbled over that while parenting, and it almost messed up the rest of me too. Let me explain.

I am the mom of three strong-willed sons. When my oldest  was younger, I felt like I had to stay “in charge” for some reason, as if he would take over and I would lose my parental authority. His personality was very intense, and he learned how to push my “last nerve” buttons extremely well. And I played the game. I allowed him to manipulate me through my reactions and failure to admit the issue.

For a few years, my husband kept suggesting that I allow him to be “the bad guy” with our son, and for me to take on the cheerleader role. I tried to see his logic, but I unwisely resisted walking out his plan. With every intention of “rah, rah, rah” in my heart, I came up the stairs one day to discover food all over the living room, which had always been against the rules.  Instead of encouragement, out came frustration. Replay this scenario with different circumstances, but similar reaction, over and over and over, and you will understand those few years of my life. My intentions were not being realized. And my son and I both suffered for it.

In our specific situation, I was not living up to my responsibility within the family because of my denial.

One day I had a brainstorm: let’s try this my husband’s way.  Unbelievable joy was initiated in the discovery of the truth and was totally worth being wrong. His theory worked. And that was the beginning of realizing that in and of myself, I am an encourager at my core. The incredible  freedom that has come from not having to be someone I was never created to be has been remarkable.

So what truths about yourself might be lurking in your heart today, waiting to be discovered? What were you created to do? Who were you created to be? May contentment and peace follow in the wake of your own discovery, and may you walk out every dream you were created to fulfill.

Give us some feedback at https://www.facebook.com/lifecartography or leave a comment.

Why the way you apologize is wrong. Life Lesson #23

Learn to apologize.

Saying “I’m sorry” takes practice. For some, the process is akin to extracted impacted wisdom teeth. For others, the words flow out so quickly you wonder if there is any meaning associated.

Ever had someone apologize to you and afterwards you felt worse?

“I’m sorry you are such a jerk and I resented your bullish character, I resented your ugly way of talking. And I hated you for being wrong and not knowing it all the time. I’m sorry.”

Wonderful. I feel so much better.

Another friend told me he recently sat in a meeting of non-profit and religious leaders where someone apologized for feelings of resentment. The apology included 10 minutes of upbraiding masked in half-hearted apology.

You can’t apologize for what someone else did and issuing forgiveness before someone else apologies is simple manipulation.

The ANATOMY of a genuine apology.

The apology.

I am sorry. I wronged you. I …. Then STOP.

That’s it. No blaming, no “the reason I did was this…” No justification or explanation required.

If the person to whom you apologize reciprocates, good. But not required. If the person opens the door to more communication, even better. But not required.

That is hard. Because there is a reason for everything. Just shouldn’t be included in an apology.

Here’s the twitter version

“A cover up always necessitates a cleanup. no cover-up no cleanup. So just own up and get on with it.”

At least learn from it. Life Lesson #21

What are the learning opportunities here?


Jim Ferriera is a long time friend and mentor. As the dean in college, he constantly repeated the line “what are the learning opportunities here?”

Life can be “the school of Hard Knocks.” Life can also be the “School of Lucky Breaks.” Here is a reality. You are living. Obvious isn’t it? But since you are going to live, and have experiences, you might as well learn from them, so as to not repeat the mistakes of the past, and increase the chance you’ll get the repeat the good decisions, right?

2013 was the toughest of my life. I reached the highest place of my professional accomplishment to date. I also had several of the worst experiences of my life. Failure and success have walked hand in hand. I’ve had people work hard to extort money from me and I’ve had some of the most meaningful personal interactions of my life.

What are the learning opportunities? I’m sharing some with you here. Others, I’m writing down and letting sit for a while.

Certain roads I never want to travel again. Others, I want to travel over and over.

Goes back to reading the map doesn’t it?

Scuba diving makes communication difficult. Life Lesson #17

Keep your communication above the water line.

Above the water line

This one is a bit cultural, so you may have to contextualize.

Some background might help though in understanding cultures. Culture, we often see as a geopolitical thing. Tribes in Africa, countries in Europe, regions in America. Barbeque versus Vegan type thing.

But culture goes deeper than that. Organizations have their own cultures, schools have their own cultures, teams have their cultures. Marriages have cultures.

Too often, communication goes below the line. Like an Ice Berg, the reality is not what is seen. And then the games begin. Everyone becomes a shrink, trying to figure out the real meaning of what we are saying, judging every nuance and inflection. Every eye lift and head tilt.

The problem is that we are often poor cultural interprets. Case in point? In the USA, eye contact is a sign of respect. In Tanzania, eye contact can be seen as a sign of disrecpect or even other less savory things.  Simple, above the line communication makes life so much easier to decipher. Just say it.

Say it gentlely. Be Nice. But everyone loves a straight talker, as long as they aren’t an angry straight talker. Just saying…