Pornography resource primarily for church leaders

October 23, 2013 | Focus On | Number 21
By Karin Fehderau | Saskatchewan Correspondent
Stephen Siemens is the Restorative Justice Co-ordinator for MCC Canada.

Are Mennonites ready to discuss the ugly facts of pornography? A new resource being published by MCC can help start the conversation.

It’s not an easy read, but a necessary one, said Elsie Goertzen who works for the End Abuse program in MCC British Columbia and whose interest in this topic began when she was teaching a sexual ethics course at Columbia Bible College.

“It takes leadership to open it up in an appropriate way, but there’s a lack of awareness in where pornography has gone,” said Goertzen.

Stephen Siemens, who works out of MCC’s Winnipeg office, agrees.

“The world has changed so much [in the area of] child pornography. The appetite starts somewhere,” he said.

The information packed into the 63 pages of the resource Lies, Truth and Hope gives a clear understanding of the issue and forces the reader to acknowledge this is a problem for Christians too. There is an honest look at pornography with suggestions on what to do, even giving credence to recovery programs that Mennonites might not be familiar with: the 12-step recovery process or support groups.

All aspects of the porn industry are included. The victimization of children is especially difficult, but there is also the issue of children being exposed to pornography at an early age. Goertzen wants parents to be aware of what’s really out there so they can prepare their own children for that first encounter when it comes.

“Hopefully this book will shock parents and churches into talking about this. If you’re willing, people are amazingly open about this,” she said.

In compiling the book, the writers wanted to present as much information as they could.

“We were hoping to do a little science; not just dwell on the industry,” explained Siemens. “The most credible resources [for the book] were mainly secular,” said Goertzen.

A section on what the church can do as an institution to take a stand against the industry is detailed and helpful. For instance, hotels now automatically have their televisions set on the porn channel.

“It’s the default setting,” said Siemens. And patrons of the hotel can ask to have it changed.

Although it’s hard to imagine a member of the congregation going to the pastor to admit a porn addition, the idea that the pastor himself might have the problem is even harder. But compassion is necessary.

“Imagine how the pastor would feel going to his board [to] admit he had this problem,” said Siemens. “There would be shame and guilt.” This is another good reason to open up the subject for discussion.

Stephen Siemens is the Restorative Justice Co-ordinator for MCC Canada.

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